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Trinamul Congress candidates likely to be fielded with symbol of BGPM in Darjeeling

Some party leaders believe such move would help camouflage TMC which is against statehood demand that is emotive one for hill voters

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 13.06.23, 05:22 AM
Anit Thapa

Anit Thapa File picture

Some Trinamul candidates are likely to be fielded with the symbol of two candles of the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatrantik Morcha (BGPM) in Darjeeling hills during the panchayat elections.

However, multiple sources told The Telegraph that there would be no formal tie-up between the BGPM and Trinamul and both would only go for a tacit understanding during the rural polls.


“However, some Trinamul candidates are likely to be asked to take up the BGPM symbol. This arrangement is being worked out largely in the Mirik area,” said a source.

Some party leaders from both parties believe such a move would help camouflage Trinamul which is against the statehood demand that is an emotive one for hill voters.

“A committee consisting of Trinamul district chairperson L.B. Rai and other BGPM leaders are actively looking into this issue and working on the nitty-gritty of the arrangement. This strategy is cumbersome, too,” said a source.

While negotiations on this arrangement are doing the rounds, sources, however, said that a section in the hill Trinamul wants all candidates to be fielded with their own symbol.

When asked whether party candidates would contest with their own symbol, Shanta Chhetri, Rajya Sabha MP from Trinamul said: “Trinamul is a state party with a registered symbol.... A meeting will be held tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss election issues.”

Observers believe Trinamul is likely to field some candidates with its official symbol and some others with the BGPM symbol, especially where the hill party’s presence is stronger.

“The final call is likely to be made by the party’s top leadership in Calcutta,” said a Trinamul source.

L.B. Rai, chairman, Trinamul (Darjeeling hills), admitted to talks on the strategy of the party to use the BGPM symbol in certain areas. “We are holding a series of meetings on the issue. In fact, I am in one of the meetings right now,” he said on Monday.

In Darjeeling hills, the process of filing nominations has made a slow start, but reports of many local leaders switching sides are gaining ground.

“The BGPM will start filing nominations from tomorrow (Tuesday),” said a BGPM source.

The fight will largely take place between BGPM and its unannounced alliance Trinamul on one hand and the United Gorkha Alliance comprising of the BJP, Ajoy Edwards’ Hamro Party, Bimal Gurung’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and other Opposition parties looking for a common platform.

Binay Tamang, a prominent face in hill politics, has joined hands with the alliance.

On Monday, Hamro Party announced some of its candidates for gram panchayat seats. There are 112 gram panchayats in Darjeeling hills.

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