Gorkha Janmukti Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri today said the party wanted John Barla to contest the Assembly polls from Jalpaiguri's Nagrakata , a seat the tribal leader wanted to fight for.
Barla had said he would certainly contest from the seat but whether he would be a candidate of a party or contest as an Independent was undecided.
Giri, who was in Nagrakata today to attend a party meeting where a block committee of the Morcha was formed, said: "In recent times, some people have left our party and floated a new one. It is nothing but a front of Trinamul. We are confident that this party will never succeed in eroding our vote bank, both in the plains and the hills. For the Nagrakata Assembly seat, we want John Barla to contest as a candidate of our alliance."
Nagrakata is an ST seat. Barla is a dissident leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad.
Earlier, Morcha president and GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung had said the party would never ally with Trinamul for the Assembly polls. He had also said the party would field candidates in 10 to 15 seats in north Bengal, unlike in 2011, when the Morcha had contested from three hill seats and supported Wilson Champramari, an Independent.
Champramari had won the Kalchini seat in Alipurduar.
Gurung had also spoken about the party's alliance with the BJP, which was reiterated by the BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, who had said their only alliance in the state was with the Morcha.
Today, soon after Giri's remark, Barla who was also in the meeting, said: "People from different organisations, including some local BJP leaders, have approached me to contest from Nagrakata. It is certain that I will contest but right now, I can't say if I will contest as an official candidate of a party or an Independent. Discussions are on."
Barla said organisations such as the Progressive Peoples' Party (breakaway faction of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad) and Bharatiya Millat-e-Islamia (a Dooars minority organisation) had spoken to him.
Asked about the prospects of Barla being nominated as their candidate, Dipen Pramanik, Jalpaiguri district BJP president, said: "We cannot comment right now as the candidate selection would be done by the state leadership. But we want to make one thing very clear that we will field the candidate with party symbol."
An observer said Barla was the Morcha's best bet in the Dooars. "There is no doubt that the clout of John Barla in Nagrakata and its surrounding areas is much more than leaders of any other party."