The three-pronged alliance of the TMC-Gorkha National Liberation Front-Jan Andolan Party, or ‘jote’, tore into the GJM terming it a drowning boat that had outlived its days. Biswas reached Chowk Bazaar, the venue of the public meeting, some 30 minutes before the session ended and spoke for about 15 minutes. But he did not waste time and straight away began attacking the GJM and its leadership, accusing them of promoting atrocities and rampant corruption.
“GJM ab ek dooba huwa nauka hai. Bimal Gurung aur uska party ka goondagardi ab nahin chalne denge hum. Gurung ko election ke baad pahar chodna padega kyuki uska samay pura hogiya hai,” roared Biswas to the applause of TMC-GNLF-JAP supporters.
|West Bengal Trinamool Congress general secretary Arup Biswas|
Biswas said this election would not be a cakewalk for the GJM as the Trinamool and its allies were well prepared. “In the past, the GJM used to capture the booths by terrorising voters and cadres of other parties. But this time, we (TMC-GNLF-JAP) will deploy cadres in every booth. It is my ‘sapath’ (promise) that we will finish the GJM in the hills,” the TMC general secretary said.
GNLF leader Niraj Zimba evoked the deaths of hundreds of people during the two rounds of agitation for statehood (1986 and 2007) to corner the GJM, accusing it of tacitly supporting the CPM in this election. “In the first agitation more than 1,200 people were killed and 2007 saw another five deaths. The CPM was in power then. Now the GJM is supporting that party and it is also supporting the BJP whose leaders in the plains of Bengal are against Gorkhaland. How can people believe this (GJM) party?” he wondered.
Meanwhile, hill TMC leaders, wary of the sentiments attached with to statehood demand and the party’s stand on the matter, treaded a cautious path focusing more on development. “The TMC will come to power in Bengal again and its legislators will be able to fulfill the demand of the hills. That’s why we must be practical and not indulge in sentimental politics,” advised NB Khawas, the hill TMC general secretary.
And hill TMC president Rajen Mukhia tried to underscore a new perspective being followed by his party, insisting party chief Mamata Banerjee did not believe in ethnic politics. He said, “Baichung
Bhutia has been fielded in Siliguri and another Gorkha candidate in the Dooars even though these areas have Bengali population in the majority. This shows our leader’s broadmindedness and her love for the hills.”
However, Saradha Subba, the TMC candidate from Darjeeling, was blunt saying a Gorkha state would never be a reality. “Gorkhaland will not be created; moreover, the GJM will never be able to achieve it. There are other issues that need to be addressed urgently and you must give a chance to a national-level party like the TMC for overall progress and development,” she said.
The TMC has fielded candidates in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Siliguri and will be supporting JAP candidate Harka Bahadur Chhetri in Kalimpong.