Showing posts with label election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label election. Show all posts

Mamata Banerjee's announcement to woo the hill voters

9:09 PM
TMC
Darjeeling: In a public meeting jointly held by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM Binay Faction) and Trinamool Congress TMC Mamata Banerjee made some important announcements just 7 days before Darjeeling goes to vote. The meeting was attended by various Development Boards,  the Hill TMC and GJM (Binay Anit Faction).
Mamata Banerjee's announcement to woo the hill voters
Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling 

Following are West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement in chowk Bazar, Darjeeling today at the public meeting.

1.)  The compensation of the tea garden workers during 105 days strike (Rs 15000) to be given in terms of humanity after the election.

2.) The landright documents to be given to the resident of Tea Estate, Cinchona plantation , Muncipality and D.I. Fund areas.

3)  The national identity and Security  of the Gorkhas to be fulfilled.

4) Three MLS to be from GJM

5) resumption of registration of flats and private properties in Darjeeling Municipality Area.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has played her cards well, now the ball is on the other side of the court. With these announcements she has urged people to vote for Amar Singh Rai, Tronamool candidate from Darjeeling in the upcoming Lok Sabha Election.


No matter who loses, we, the Gorkhas, have already won

8:05 AM
Writes: Upendra

In the 2019 elections, Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat is being viewed by almost everyone interested in politics as a litmus test to adjudge if the Gorkha aspirations of having a state of our own will prevail, or if the iron will of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee to obliterate the demand forever will deal a crushing blow to the same.

In the muddled regional political atmosphere, which has gone topsy-turvy post the 2017 Gorkhaland agitation, it would take a political analyst of superhuman powers to predict who will win the seat. While the BJP sounds hopeful of retaining the seat, TMC is confident they will wrestle the seat away from the BJP, which has held the seat for 10-long-years, and has nothing to show for it. Chequering the political equation further is the lack of a strong regional political party that could decisively swing the elections one way or the other.

Currently, for me though, no matter which candidate loses, the Gorkhas have already won, and here’s why.

2017: The game changer

Not many may be aware that till date, Nepali – a language, which is one of the recognised national languages of India, and is included under the 8th Schedule of our Constitution, is not included as an optional paper in the West Bengal Civil Services (WBCS). While one can choose Nepali as an optional paper in the IAS exams, its non-inclusion was highlighted repeatedly in West Bengal Legislative Assembly, yet the powers that be have continued their defiant stand against Nepali language inclusion in WBCS.
These are copies of the same textbook -- same class, same subject. While the copy on the left, for Nepali medium schools, is printed in black and white, the right is for Bengali medium schools, printed in colour
File image

Instances of textbooks published by the West Bengal Secondary School Board discriminating against Nepali language have been reported in local media over the years. The most blatant of all being a Nepali medium book being printed in black and white, whereas books in other languages were printed in colour. After the failure of Gorkhaland agitation in 2013, the Trinamool Congress government had increasingly shown their disdain towards Nepali language, and there was a growing resentment against the same.

On May 15, 2017, West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee made an announcement that “the government [of WB] will introduce three-language policy, the students will have to take Bengali compulsory as one of the three languages”.

This same fact was reiterated by Mamata herself in a Facebook post dated May 16.

The Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars, which have a very cosmopolitan mixture of Gorkhas – Nepali, Lepcha, Bhutia – Adivasis, Rajbonshis, Rabha, Toto, Mech, Bengali, Bihari, Marwari, Punjabi and almost every other major ethnic groups from various parts of India erupted in protests. Leading the protests were the Gorkhas whose lingua franca is Nepali.

Gorkhaland agitation: A quick recall

Protests against attempt at linguistic imperialism on the part of TMC government quickly snowballed into a full-fledged demand for separate state of Gorkhaland. Even quicker was the response of the state machinery, which violently crushed the movement. The Gorkhas, who were demanding the formation of a Gorkhaland state within the geographic, political and constitutional contours of India, were labelled as separatists and terrorists. The administration even said those demanding Gorkhaland have linkages to militants in Northeast and Maoists in Nepal, they didn’t bother mentioning which faction, though.
Darjeeling residents take part in a protest against, what they call, linguistic imperialism

Towards the end of September 2017, the Gorkhaland statehood movement had died a natural death, with movement leaders choosing to go underground.

Ready at hand were second-rung leaders, who quickly stepped in to fill the void, not in leading the agitation for Gorkhaland statehood, but in handling the local Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) on behalf of the West Bengal government.

Since then, there have been attempts at completely subverting any and all forms of expressing of the Gorkha identity issue in the region.

As all of this was unfolding BJP and its entire leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi preferred to keep a safe distance from the entire issue, and didn’t even utter a single word of sympathy, solidarity, support or outrage. It was almost like, for BJP, the perils facing Gorkhas was an unpleasant distraction, they could very well do without.

The Congress and CPI (M), the other two main political parties in the region, did make some noise about everyone coming to the table and indulging in a dialogue to resolve the impasse, both were functionally indifferent towards the plight and sufferings of the Gorkhas.

Time and tide

But the Gorkhas are a hardy bunch, and we endured all the hardships, with a smile on our lips and hope in our hearts.

Today, as the election comes knocking at the door, lo and behold, the Gorkhas are a priority for all the political parties. Every major political party is trying their best to reconnect with the Gorkhas, whom they had, for all intent and purpose, forsaken and left for dead only a year ago.

Today, three among the four major political parties have nominated a Nepali speaking individual as their candidate for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat. BJP has nominated Raju Bista, CPI (M) has nominated Saman Pathak, and Trinamool Congress has nominated Amar Singh Rai. Congress has nominated Sankar Malakar, who by the virtue of being a bhoomiputra from Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency is fluent in Nepali. In fact on his very day after being given the Congress ticket, he headed to Kurseong and interacted with the locals, reminding them of TMC atrocities and BJP betrayals in the language majority of the people in the region speak – Nepali.

Raju Bista is a political novice, but what swung BJP ticket in his favour was his Indian Gorkha heritage. The BJP is hoping that his ‘Gorkhaness’ will rub off against the unpopular anti-Gorkha stand of TMC during the Gorkhaland agitation in the region and help their candidate to shine. Their secret weapon, his mother tongue, is the same that of the shared lingua franca of our region – Nepali.

Saman Pathak comes with years of experience in politics; in fact, he is one of the most experienced candidates around. His father, Anand Pathak, too, has represented Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in Parliament, and he was himself a member of Rajya Sabha previously. His mother tongue, too, is Nepali.

As for Trinamool Congress, which wanted to impose Bengali across West Bengal, they didn’t move even a single paper in that regard after the protests against their attempted linguistic imperialism broke out in Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars. What is almost ironic is that TMC that brutally crushed down the demand for a land of our own is desperately trying to project their candidate Amar Singh Rai as a son-of-the soil Bhoomiputra. The very same TMC that had labelled Gorkhas as being separatists and terrorists, is today talking about protecting the IDENTITY of the Gorkhas.

The Gorkhas have endured, now it’s time to thrive

From my count, we, the Gorkhas, have endured all that the time, government, system and bureaucracy had thrown our way, and survived. We are still Gorkhas – unchanged, and our indomitable spirit remains unconquered. Every political party that had sought to crush us, that had been indifferent towards our plight, that had been apathetic to our distress, that had been unconcerned towards our misery and suffering are today pandering to us.

For me, this is a win

We, the Gorkhas, have survived, and no matter who loses the upcoming elections or wins, we shall thrive.

(Upendra M Pradhan is a Darjeeling-based political analyst and editor-at-large at The Darjeeling Chronicle. He can be reached at pradhanum@gmail.com)

Source - https://www.eastmojo.com/opinion/2019/04/09/no-matter-who-loses-we-the-gorkhas-have-already-won

ELECTION 2019: NRC, the latest talking point

3:11 PM
Writes NN Ojha

BJP chief Amit Shah’s declaration in Alipurduar on 29 March that NRC will be implemented in West Bengal if BJP came to power has  ignited a debate about how NRC might impact people in Darjeeling hills. The debate has further intensified after Prime Minister Modi repeated his party chief’s statement during his public address in Jalpaiguri on 3 April. While doing so PM assured that the exercise will not harm the Gorkhas in any way. He however avoided saying if it would bring any benefits to the Gorkha. As expected TMC chief Mamta Banerjee took no time in countering the BJP leadership’s statements adding that NRC is a political ploy of BJP to cause dissensions in society and coupled with the Citizens Amendment Bill (CAB) 2016 the scheme makes their communal agenda clear.

In an polarised political atmosphere combined with soon to be held elections debates often tend to be reduced to canvassing and propaganda  for or against the parties in the fray.  The debate on NRC sparked off by Amit Shah and Narendra Modi is no exception.

Preparation, establishment and maintenance of a ‘National Register of Indian Citizens’ (NRC) is provided for in The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issuing of National Identity Cards) Rules originally framed in 1956 as last amended in July 2003. Rule 3(1) of these rules mandates the Registrar General of Citizens Registration ‘to establish and maintain NRC for the whole of India’, not selectively for any particular state or UT

Two questions arise; one, if NRC is mandated for the whole of India why do Amit Shah or Narenfra Modi single out West Bengal for its introduction repeatedly and second, Is the NRC capable of yielding results as per its stated objectives. For examining both these questions we will have to look to the ongoing exercise on NRC in Assam.

In spite of applicability of NRC all over the country Assam is the only state to have had it introduced way back in 1951. The reasons for this exception are in Assam’s  peculiar historical background. The state has had problem of immigrants ever since it was ceded to the  British colonial rulers by the Burmese rulers in 1826.  Alarm bells were rung for the first time in 1931 when CS Mullen Superintendent of Census reported about ‘invasion by hordes of land-hungry immigrants on Assam in the last 25 years that could destroy the whole structure of Assamese culture and civilisation’. The problem  persisted even after independence with an added dimension of national security after the partition of India. As a result an Assam specific legislation, Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act 1950 was passed by the Parliament and Assam became the very first state of India to have an NRC in 1951 for identification and expulsion of illegal immigrants as per the Act.

The exception made in case of Assam because of compulsions of history and law does not take away the fundamental point that as per existing law NRC’s applicability is for the whole of India and singling out west Bengal in particular on election eve is legally and politically improper. We will examine possible reasons for this intimidatory singling out of West Bengal little later. First let us see what has been our experience of Assam NRC in terms of results achieved.

The main objective of  NRC was to identify illegal immigrants  and expel them. Barely ten years after the first NRC the 1961 census found number of illegal immigrants in Assam  to be nearly 2.25 lakhs. In a white paper issued by the Home department of Assam the estimate shot up to five lakhs. In the draft NRC published under the ongoing updation currently underway nearly four millions claimants to citizenship have been excluded for want of certainty about their citizenship status. It is obvious NRC has not contained the influx of illegal migrants in the State even after six decades of its introduction in 1951.

Let us look at the other objective of expulsion of illegal migrants after they are identified as such following the NRC. In  February this year during the  hearing of current status of Assam NRC updation government of India submitted before the apex court that out of 52000 individuals identified as foreigners by the Tribunal set up under Foreigners Act of 1946 only 162 were deported. This is an irrefutable proof of the failure of NRC in curbing infiltration or expelling infiltrators. Interestingly it was also submitted by the government before the court that 27000 individuals attempting to cross over from the border into Assam were pushed back by our security forces. Quite obviously a vigorous security setup to guard the borders against infiltration is more effective than an elaborate and time and resource consuming exercise of NRC that till now has hardly resulted in anything but discord and disaffection in society and harassment and humiliation of our own citizens.

These being the results why the idea of NRC is being marketed so aggressively by BJP for Bengal? Obviously the motive appears political. When you see NRC in conjunction with BJP’s another brainchild the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2016 the motive becomes crystal clear. CAB divides illegal immigrants into infiltrators liable to be expelled and refugees likely to be granted citizenship depending upon the faith they practise. Thus by combining the two BJP may expect to neutralise anti BJP vote of those liable to be expelled and  consolidate its hold on those likely to be granted citizenship. People in Assam and other North Eastern states see CAB as a counter measure to nullify the objectives of NRC and have risen in protest against what they term  BJP’s   duplicity.

How will NRC if introduced in Bengal impact people in Darjeeling region? We have PM  Modi simply saying this won’t harm the Gorkhas but choosing not to say that it would benefit them. Then we have Raju Bista saying NRC will benefit the Gorkha by making them more secure in their land without explaining how exactly. At the cutting edge level we have  BJP supporters canvassing relentlessly that if NRC comes ‘90% of the Bengali speaking people in terai and duars will be pushed back to Bangladesh’. I am not aware how they are sure of their figures or the end result. However they seem unaware of the perilous procedure fraught with long spells of harassment, humiliation and uncertainty for the common man irrespective of who is pushed back to another country and who is entitled to remain in the end. They are also unaware that if CAB comes - and it is sure to come if NRC comes, both being dependent on BJP’s return to power - then many among those our friends are expecting to be pushed back to Bangladesh may end up getting citizenship due to the faith they practise. Obviously the painstaking propaganda by some of our youngsters is either a command performance or due to ignorance about the procedure involved. My advise to them is to go through the Citizenship (Registration of citizens and issuing of National Identity cards) Rules of 1956 and their 22 amendments, the last one being of 7 July 2003 and be unbiased in their views.

It is true that no Gorkha can be liable for expulsion from India irrespective of whether or not there is NRC in Bengal. Even those who may be deemed to be citizens of Nepal and not India can remain under the Indo-Nepal treaty of 1950. To that extent the PM is right that NRC will not harm the Gorkhas but there is no additional benefit that it brings to the table for Gorkhas which the Gorkhas don’t have already. When you think of this status quo with or without NRC and take into account the harassment, humiliation, uncertainty and the enormous resources needed for the exercise it may appear to be futile and even counter productive. In Assam where just an updation exercise for an existing NRC is going on nearly 40000 workers (30000 regular government  employees and 10000 contract workers) are engaged in the task. Twenty different types of customised computer soft wares have been developed mostly through private sector at huge cost and over 2500 data digitisation hubs established for the purpose. Diversion of such huge resources for an exercise at the end of which you are getting ready with another law to grant citizenship to many who may be found to be illegal immigrants or if you are able to deport only 162 illegals out of 52000 identified definitely needs to be given a fresh look. If your motives are purely political for which you couldn’t care less for the resources or  the harassment common people are subjected to during the exercise then it is a different story.

I am not for a moment arguing that we need not have NRC and let India be a caravan serai for immigrants. What I am saying is do not use NRC as an electoral gimmick and if you have NRC at huge cost to the nation do not neutralise its gains by a counter statute like the CAB. My argument is also to see if the objectives of NRC could be fulfilled by having a robust border guarding system instead of the cumbersome and frightfully expensive procedures involved in NRC that also become unduly bothersome for the common man. My appeal to every one is not to mix up a legal issue that also has bearing on national security with petty politics and unfounded or exaggerated claims about its gains or pitfalls.

Via The DT

Darjeeling Lok Sabha Election 2019 and the Gorkhas

9:10 AM
TMC
Darjeeling Parliamentary Constituency Election 2019 and the Gorkhas: Some Observations

Writes: Dr Vimal Khawas

The Gorkhas of Darjeeling Hills, as initially decided, could not arrive at a common consensus candidate. Therefore, a total of sixteen (16) potential and aspiring candidates affiliated to various political parties as well as those desiring to contest as independent candidates have filed their nominations for the position of the Member of Parliament from Darjeeling Lok Sabha Constituency in the upcoming General Elections, 2019. Darjeeling Constituency is, perhaps, one of the most fiercely contested constituencies in the country today.


If we closely examine the current electoral landscape in the region, the pattern broadly looks as follows:

Clearly, chances of an independent candidate to emerge victoriously are slim to none, both because of their past political baggage and also due to the lack of their ability to create an adequate platform for grassroots mobilizations. Further, lesser political parties like, CPIM, BSP, IDRF, GRC and even national parties like INC may also not be able to wield much impact in the ensuing election due to both local and regional political dynamics.

Consequently, there are primarily two probable political scenarios to choose from before us for this election. Leaving aside political contenders highlighted above, the real fight is only between TMC (supported by GJMM2) and BJP (supported by GJMM1 and GNLF).

Scenario #1:

If we vote for TMC and make them victorious, there is a very high degree of probability that Mamata Banerjee would gradually grab the entire region under her fold. This election is just a gateway for Mamata and her party TMC to bigger political shares in the region via MLA and GTA elections, subsequently. The steady increase of TMC domination in the hills also means steady uprooting and waning of Gorkha identity and Gorkha political aspirations. They are inversely related to each other.

Under such a situation, in a decade or two, the entire notion of Gorkha and Gorkhaland may have been rendered irrelevant! We may be only referred to as a Thapa, a Chettri, a Bhujel, a Damai, a Rai, a Kami, a Sherpa, a Limbu, a Lepcha, a Bahun, a Dukpa, a Sarki, a Newar or Nepalis and many times immigrant Nepalis. We would, most probably, cease to be the Gorkhas. No one would have the guts to utter ‘Jai Gorkha’. We all may collectively and/or forcefully be made to chant ‘Jai Bangla’.

She is already on her way up the hills with a number of detrimental political cards. Her Development Board approach is one of the ways forward in this regard. She would never go for such appeasement politics had she loved the region and its people, to the extent of dividing the Gorkhas into ethnic lines. More importantly, TMC’s unscientific and draconic handling of the 2013 and 2017 Gorkhaland agitation/uprising is yet another critical example of how it perceives the Gorkhas and their long pending aspirations in the region.

Scenario #2:

If we vote for BJP and render them victorious, nothing may happen. The last 10 years were rather fruitless and going by that trend, the next five years may not bear fruit, either.BJP may be busy spreading its political and strategic tentacles across geographical spaces of the country with its Hindutva card. It may keep on struggling to take control of Bengal but without any notable results. BJP would not give us Gorkhaland! They have their state government in Assam. Has Bodoland been able to see the light of the day?

This MP would, in all likelihood remain a mere puppet within the larger framework and schemes of Bharatiya Janata Party!

However, the Gorkhas will have the freedom to shout ‘Jai Gorkha’ and ‘We want Gorkhaland’ under BJP unlike under TMC which is fundamentally and ideologically against the idea of Gorkha and Gorkhaland! And yes Gorkhas would, at least, have the hope to have their own separate state called ‘Gorkhaland’ or to be known by any other name someday.

Sapana nai bhaye pani haami dekhneh chau ra dekhi rahaneh chau

The choice is ours, to opt for scenario #1 or #2. No one shall force us.

Concluding Note:

The unscientific, unorganized and premature conclusion of 2017 Gorkha uprising has deeply lowered the self-respect and dignity of the entire Gorkha community. It may be difficult to reinstate our old glory in the foreseeable future unless we unite and stay united. For the first time, I feel insecure to wear a T-shirt that reads ‘I support Gorkhaland’ even in Kalimpong, not to talk of Siliguri.

For me ‘Entry of TMC into Darjeeling Politics is beginning of the end of Gorkha Political Aspirations’

[Originally posted on : https://thedarjeelingchronicle.com/darjeeling-parliamentary-constituency-election-2019-and-the-gorkhas-some-observations/]

NRC Won't Hurt Gorkhas, Says PM Narendra Modi

11:31 AM
SILIGURI, WEST BENGAL: Insisting that he won't spare infiltrators, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday assured justice for refugees from neighbouring countries and said the Gorkha community in north Bengal won't be hurt by a National Register of Citizens (NRC).

"The way Modi has acted against Maoists and terrorists, similarly Modi is not going to spare infiltrators. On the other hand, this chowkidar would do justice to refugees who are victims of a historic blunder by the Congress," he said, in an obvious reference to the partition of the country in 1947.

PM Modi said he had been told that rumours were being spread about NRC in the Darjeeling Hills.




"I want to assure all Gorkha brothers and sisters from this stage that none of you will be inconvenienced because of the NRC," he said.

Three days back, the BJP had accused West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress of spreading misinformation regarding the impact of the NRC on the Gorkha community in the Darjeeling Hills.
"The Trinamool is running a false campaign in north Bengal through some local leaders. They are telling people that if NRC is implemented in Bengal, the Gorkhas living in the hills will have to leave the state," BJP national Secretary Rahul Sinha had said.

Without naming the Binoy Tamang led pro-Trinamool faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, PM Modi said he was warming all those "who are on the payroll of the Trinamool and spreading terror" that their days were over.

"The moment the BJP comes to power, those harassing innocent people will have to answer the law."
PM Modi said the alliance of "criminals and infiltrators" won't be able to continue for long in West Bengal and urged people to vote in the Lok Sabha elections fearlessly.

"I would like to urge BJP office bearers also to hold your ground. We are with you."


Via ndtv

लोकसभामा दार्जीलिङ समष्टिबाट गोर्खा प्रतिनिधित्वका सही हकदार श्री आर. बी. राई

7:36 PM
लोकसभामा दार्जीलिङ समष्टिबाट
गोर्खा प्रतिनिधित्वका सही हकदार श्री आर. बी. राई

अब भाजपाप्रति विश्वास रहेन । दार्जीलिङभरि योग्य गोर्खा व्यक्तित्वहरू हुँदा-हुँदै एउटा राजनैतिक अनुभवहीन भएको व्यक्तिलाई अघि सारिनु भनेको भाजपा गठबन्धनको हामी गोर्खाहरूप्रतिको हेलचेक्राइ हो । योग्य गोर्खा उम्मेदवार दिए पुनर्विचार गर्न सकिने मूडमा बसेको क्रामाकपाले अब श्री आर. बी. राईलाई उम्मेदवार बनाएर चुनाउमा जानुबाहेक अर्को विकल्प छैन ।   

यसैले श्री आर. बी. राईले दार्जीलिङ संसदीय क्षेत्रका उम्मेदवारको रूपमा भोलि आफ्नो नामांकन भर्नेछन् ।

 राज्यसभा र लोकसभाको अनुभव पहिलाबाटै प्राप्त गरिसकेका श्री राई एक इमान्दार नेता मात्र होइनन् तर उनी एक अनुभवी, अध्ययनशील र योग्य गोर्खा उम्मेदवार हुन् । राज्यसत्ताको सम्पूर्ण शक्ति लगाएर गोर्खाहरूको आवाजलाई निर्ममतापूर्वक दबाउने तृणमूल पार्टी अनि भारतीय गोर्खाहरूलाई बारम्बार धोका दिएर हाम्रो विश्वासमाथि खेलबाड गर्ने भारतीय जनता पार्टीका उम्मेदवारहरूविरुद्ध अब हामीले गोर्खाल्याण्ड मुद्दाका इमान्दार सिपाही श्री आर. बी. राईको पक्षमा आफ्नो बहुमूल्य मतदान गरेर गोर्खाल्याण्डप्रेमी जनताको परिचय दिनुछ । तृणमूल र भाजपाजस्ता फासिस्ट शक्तिहरूको विरुद्ध गणतान्त्रिक शक्तिलाई बलियो बनाउनुछ । बइमानलाई धेरैपल्ट सघायौँ, अब एकपल्ट इमान्दारलाई सघाएर हाम्रो असली सङ्ग्रामको सुरुवात त्यहीँ बिन्दुबाट गर्नुछ । जनताको नेतालाई जनताले नै चिन्नुछ, चुन्नुछ । अत: गोर्खाल्याण्डप्रेमी, गणतन्त्रप्रेमी सबै-सबै मतदाताहरूलाई आर. बी. राईको पक्षमा आफ्नो बहुमूल्य मत दिने विनम्र अनुरोध गरिन्छ ।

Raju Bista Declared BJP MP candidate from Darjeeling for Lok Sabha election

7:28 PM
GJM GNLF BJP candidate for Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat Declared

Raju Bista , 34 years old, Managing Director of Surya Roshni Ltd, a Gorkha from Manipur has been declared the candidate for Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.
Raju Bhist Declared BJP MP candidate from Darjeeling
Raju Bista Declared BJP MP candidate from Darjeeling
Raju Bista has been the Managing Director at Surya Roshni Limited since October 29, 2012. Shri Bista served as a Deputy Managing Director of Surya Roshni Limited until October 29, 2012.

He joined Surya Foundation an NGO in furtherance of his deep rooted desire to develop the youth of the country. His management and planning skills are valuable factors in the growth of Surya.

He has been a Whole Time Director of Surya Roshni Limited since June 18, 2009. Shri Bista holds the directorship in Surya Global Steel Tubes Limited and Surya Global Infrastructure Limited. He is a Graduate in Arts from Manipur. He has done Executive Masters Programme in Business Administration with specialization in Marketing Management from National Institute of Business Management.

Sons without a Soil: Bhoomi is the Issue, Not Putra

8:19 PM
‘Bhoomiputra’ has become the latest catchphrase for political parties in Darjeeling Hills. CPRM was the first to announce former MP RB Rai as its candidate for 2019, soon followed by ‘bhoomiputra’ candidates from TMC-GJM (Binoy faction), Congress, CPIM. The lone ‘putri’ (daughter) in the fray is Reseeka Chhetri who has announced her candidacy as an independent contestant.

A New Catchphrase

Bhoomiputra or the son-of-the-soil theory is not new to Indian politics and have brought about sea change in the social narrative of our nation. However, for Darjeeling Hills, Bhoomiputra has never been an issue of asserting identity and have historically elected political representatives both from within and outside the region. After the Gorkhaland issue became the mainstream of Darjeeling Hills politics, people have always for the issue, notwithstanding party or leaders. The core philosophy of local politics has been aptly described in the words of Subash Ghising: “Party bhanda Jati thulo, Jati bhanda Maato thulo”

The whole jingoism about Bhoomiputra is only an attempt to divert public attention from the core issue of Gorkhaland. For every voter, Gorkhaland has always been the core political issue and the current generation have witnessed several dramas unfold around the statehood movement in their lives. After having made all efforts to divide the people through boards, councils, and administrations, the son-of-the-soil rhetoric is another ploy to crush the statehood movement and its supporters. This Bhumiputra debate is a classic case of using the ’US’ vs ‘THEM’ idea as a political tool.

The Friendship Treaty Bogey Call

The alliance of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and the Hills parties have conveniently shifted the goal post for Gorkhaland. In an article published by Economic Times, Binoy Tamang states “we must demand a review and revision of the India-Nepal Friendship treaty, and there should be a clear demarcation of borders between these two countries. This is the reason why people still call us Nepalese and treat us like foreigners. If this isn’t done, no way can we remove the foreigner tag. Gorkhaland has become a tool for politicians. Before every election, they sell us the dream of Gorkhaland. If we fail to correct the basic issues which are stopping us from getting Gorkhaland, Gorkhas will continue to die and we will never achieve our goal”.

The Government of India formed an Eminent Person’s Group (EPG) in 2014, comprising of experts from both India and Nepal to examine the Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty 1950 and modify its provisions to reflect the realities of current times. This committee has taken representation on Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty from various sections of the society from both India and Nepal, and already submitted their final report in July of 2018. The Government of India is expected to renew the treaty in the later half of 2019. With or without TMC-GJM(BT) group making it an election issue.

The sudden realization that the India-Nepal Friendship treaty is the obstacle to the identity and statehood movement to be led by TMC is highly doubtful. If we remember, this is the same government which hounded Gorkhaland movement supporters for months and even killed 13 innocent protestors in broad daylight.

A new beginning for hill politics

Be it the first memorandum submitted by Hillmen Association in 1907, the violence of 1980s, or the recent 2017 agitation, the demand has been a separate administration and self-rule within India’s democratic union. The Anglo-Nepal treaty is an international treaty between two nations and are being discussed at the level. The Gorkha statehood movement is a demand for state protection for Indian Gorkhas who have been left out in the constitutional process. It is a desire for the recognition, respect, and integration of Gorkha peoples in the Indian nation-state

Now as GJM (Bimal faction) and GNLF have come together to fight the elections and carry the Gorkhaland issue forward, there is a chance that Gorkhaland will not be decimated from the central politics. If the primary objective is to push forward the Gorkhaland issue, then the goal should be to find the right person to do it. There is no point harping on ‘Bhoomiputra’ where there is no ‘Bhoomi’ in the first place.

To have one Gorkhaland supporting MP in the Lot Sabha is to have a voice in the parliament. With the coming together of the two parties, the TMC led alliance is startled. Mainstream media is already abuzz with digging out the violent history and personal differences of leaders to create a rift. In coming days, there could be more incidents reported to fuel the differences of the past.

As voters, we can only hope that GJM and GNLF remain true to the cause because it is Gorkhaland issue had brought them to the position they are today. They must realize that the core issue for which they have fought is much bigger than the rewards of local politics.

For the voters, we must realize that five years is a long time, long enough for one generation of kids to forget about the issue. The solution might take time, but voting the right candidate is the only way we have to keep our issue alive in political discourse in the center. To lose that voice for 5 years will take us back further.

Leaders and parties are free to campaign and promise anything as long as we know what we want.

[Originally Posted here https://thedarjeelingchronicle.com/darjeeling-elections-bhoomiputra-issue/]

पंचायत चुनाव में विमल गुरुंग गुट ने दर्ज कराई दमदार उपस्थिति।

4:11 PM

*कालचीनी और नागराकाटा प्रखंड के कई पंचायतों में जीती सीटें

-"यदि केंद्रीय बलों की मौजूदगी में मतदान होता तो और सीटें मिलती" -शिवानंद पांडेय,

सिलीगुड़ी : गोरखा जनमुक्ति मोर्चा में दो गुट हो जाने के बाद भी ज्यादातर मोर्चा समर्थकों ने अपनी आस्था भूमिगत चल रहे मोर्चा नेता व गोरखालैंड टेरिटोरियल एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन के पूर्व मुख्य कार्यकारी विमल गुरुंग में जताई है।
ऐसा संकेत हाल ही में हुए त्रि-स्तरीय पंचायत चुनाव में देखने को मिला। इससे यह माना जा रहा हैं कि विमल गुरुंग का प्रभाव कम नहीं हुआ है। ऐसा उनके समर्थक मानते हैं। भाजपा के साथ गठबंधन कर गोजमुमो विमल गुरुंग गुट ने भाजपा के बैनर तले कालचीनी व नागराकाटा प्रखंड समेत डुवार्स क्षेत्र के विभिन्न ग्राम पंचायतों में पंचायत सदस्य की सीटों पर जीत दर्ज कराई। जबकि यह चर्चा जोरों पर थी कि गोजमुमो पर वर्चस्व विमल गुरुंग का कायम रहेगा या अब उनके खिलाफ ताल ठोंक रहे जीटीए बोर्ड ऑफ एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन के चेयरमैन विनय तमांग का आधिपत्य हो जाएगा। राजनीतिक जानकारों का मानना है कि पंचायत चुनाव के नतीजे से विनय तमांग गुट को करारा झटका लगा है।

गुरुवार को घोषित नतीजे से यह स्पष्ट हो गया कि मोर्चे के कुछ नेताओं के तृणमूल कांग्रेस में शामिल होने के बाद भी मोर्चा समर्थित मतदाताओं का एक बड़ा धड़ा विनय तमांग के प्रति नहीं, बल्कि विमल के प्रति आस्था रखता है। कभी गोजमुमो में नंबर दो का स्थान रखने व गोजमुमो केंद्रीय कमेटी के प्रचार सचिव रहे विनय तमांग के अलग गोरखालैंड मांग के प्रति नरम रूख अपनाए जाने के साथ ही मोर्चा के अंदर ही विनय तमांग के खिलाफ आवाज उठानी शुरू हो गई थी कि वे तृणमूल कांग्रेस के 'बी' टीम के रूप में काम कर रहे हैं। पंचायत चुनाव से पहले देखा भी गया कि कालचीनी ब्लॉक में गोजमुमो के कई नेता पार्टी छोड़कर तृणमूल कांग्रेस में शामिल हो गए थे। वहीं पंचायत चुनाव के परिणाम से साबित हो गया कि विमल के सामने नहीं आने के बाद भी डुवार्स क्षेत्रों में उनके समर्थकों की कमी नहीं है। विमल गुट ने भाजपा के साथ मिलकर चुनावी चुनावी लड़ाई लड़ी। उसी समय तृणमूल ने दावा किया था कि कालचीनी इलाके में विमल का प्रभाव सीमित हो गया है। जबकि जयगांव एक नंबर ग्राम पंचायत में मोर्चा के साथ गठबंधन के आधार पर भाजपा को मिला थी सात सीट, जबकि जयगांव दो नंबर ग्राम पंचायत में तीन सीट। वहीं जयगांव के पास के मालंगी ग्राम पंचायत के 24 सीटों में से भाजपा-मोर्चा गठबंधन को 11 सीट मिली थीं, वहीं तृणमूल कांग्रेस को 10 सीट मिली। कालचीनी प्रखंड के गारोपाड़ा ग्राम पंचायत के कुल 20 सीटों में से भाजपा-मोर्चा गठबंधन को 10 सीटें मिली था, जबकि तृणमूल कांग्रेस को सात सीटों से ही संतोष करना पड़ा। दलसिंगपाड़ा ग्राम पंचायत के 13 सीटों में भाजपा को आठ सीट व तृणमूल कांग्रेस को पांच सीट प्राप्त हुई थी।
इसी तरह से नागराकाटा प्रखंड के चंपागुड़ी ग्राम पंचायत के 25 सीटों में भाजपा-मोर्चा गठबंधन को 16 सीटें तो तृणमूल को मात्र नौ सीटें मिली।

इस बारे में गोरखा जनमुक्ति मोर्चा केंद्रीय कमेटी के सदस्य व विमल गुरुंग समर्थक मधुकर थापा ने बताया कि पंचायत चुनाव में तृणमूल कांग्रेस के ¨हसा व अराजकता के बाद भी कई सीटों पर मोर्चा समर्थित उम्मीदवारों ने जीत दर्ज की। अगर केंद्रीय अर्धसैनिक बलों की मौजूदगी में मतदान कराया जाता तो और सीटें मिलती।

GNLF TO SUPPORT TMC IN DOOARS FOR PANCHAYAT ELECTION

11:12 AM

Like GJM , GNLF too decided to support TMC at the upcoming Panchayat election in Dooars.After 21 days of GJM announcement to support TMC from Bagrakot.  GNLF too announced their support to TMC from Bagrakot yesterday.

Later GNLF president Mann Ghisingh, General Secretary Mahendra Chettri along with TMC leader Saurav Chakraborty , Mohan Sharma , MLA Buluchik Baraik held a joint press conference at Mal bazar. Speaking with the press Mahendra Chettri said GNLF keeping positive thought  has come forward to support TMC at the upcoming Panchayat election.

Chettri further said we have come to Dooars to keep our stand clear that at the upcoming Panchayat election GNLF will support TMC at Dooars. Chettri also claimed that they have a good support of gorkhas residing at Alipurduwar and Jalpaiguri district

Via C24

GJM to support TMC in Dooars

7:15 AM
TMC

Darjeeling: In a major setback for the BJP, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Thursday announced its decision to forge an alliance with the Trinamool Congress in the forthcoming Panchayat elections, in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts. This comes on the heels of Kamtapur Progressive Party (KPP) also throwing its weight behind the TMC in Dooars for the rural polls. The day saw a core committee and working committee meeting of GJM at Bagrakote in Jalpaiguri, from where this new political equation has emerged.

"We have decided to forge an alliance with the TMC in the two districts of Dooars for the rural polls. We will support TMC candidates in some Panchayats and in our strongholds, we will field independent candidates. A four-member GJM team will be visiting Dooars soon, to negotiate with TMC on seat sharing," stated Suraj Sharma, GJM Spokesperson. GJM top brass, including president Binay Tamang, was present in the meeting. When questioned on why the GJM decided to leave the BJP fold, Sharma stated: "BJP has let down the Gorkhas. There arenumerous instances of this. They have never been serious about the Gorkhas and have just used us for securing seats during elections."

He further stated that while the BJP-led Union government had called for a report within 3 hours of the recent Ranigunj strife, it remained a mere spectator during the 2017 unrest in Darjeeling and the 104-day-long bandh. "Whereas Mamata Banerjee has helped restore peace and normalcy in the Hills. We want Dooars to benefit also," added Sharma. The GJM has strongholds in several areas of Dooars.

BIMAL GURUNG TO CONTEST 2019 DARJEELING MP ELECTION HIMSELF - Fake News

7:49 AM
There is a fake news being circulated in the social media that Bimal Gurung would himself contest 2019 election for Darjeeling MP. The following information was being posted on the social medias.

Bimal Gurung also popularly called as Gorkha Tiger has possibly geared up for the next level of politics towards accomplishing his main objective of attaining statehood for Indian Gorkha community, Gorkhaland.

Parliament is where bill has to be passed for a new state and he seems to have made up his mind to roar inside Parliament by contesting 2019 Parliament election himself from Darjeeling. He has been in the hiding for over 9 months and matters are sub judicial related to multiple cases slapped against him by West Bengal Mamata Banerjee Government.

With most doors closed for him at this juncture, he seems to have taken strong decision to make his come back into the mainstream politics.
As per reports, if contested, Gurung will single-handedly sweep Darjeeling MP election in his favour and any candidate against him won’t even stand a chance.

Darjeeling and Doars are abuzz with rumours of many aspiring MP candidates preparing themselves for 2019 by playing the community card. A local Darjeeling resident, Bishal, said “if Daju contests, all rats can go back to their holes. He matters to us the most and not any party”. People at large seems to share similar sentiments towards Gurung. Another Darjeeling local, Upendra, said “When Daju’s sun shines again all these seasonal mushrooms will vanish within no time. He is a true Gorkha son and will definitely get us Gorkhaland”

The Supreme Court had dismissed Centre's plea seeking review of its judgment debarring arrested persons from contesting polls back in November 2013, saying it is not necessary to look into the issue in view of amendment in law by Parliament. “As a consequence of amendment a person does not cease to be elector only by reason of his being in police custody or in imprisonment. Therefore, he can contest election to state legislature as well as Parliament," the bench said in its order. The judgement opens his road to contesting MP election and hence, Parliament.

“Bimal Daju need not come to Darjeeling to win the election. Wherever he may be, he will win by thumping majority, no matter how hard anyone strives. His MP candidates in Terai & Doars will also clearly win the 2019 election. Gorkhas were and are always with him” a prominent local resident said.

With Gurung’s massive supporter base in Darjeeling hills, Terai and Doars, he seems to be gaining momentum for 2019 elections much ahead of time.

Via Gorkhaland Flag Campaign

Later on The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Media made it clear that the news of Bimal Gurung contesting 2019 election for Darjeeling MP was fake. The following statement was posted by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Media on the social Media:-

There is a dedicated attempt at spreading disinformation and misinformation, aimed at making the Gorkhaland loving people confused. 

Bimal Gurung is not arrested, and the fake news being circulated that Bimal Gurung is contesting MP elections is also done to create confusion among our people.

Please DO NOT BELIEVE in rumoros, unless it is posted officially by us. 

Bengal government and their agents are desperately trying to create confusion among the masses to undermine the credibility of our President Bimal Gurung, it shows how terrified they all are. 

Gorkhaland is the one and only agenda for our President. 

Jai Gorkhaland


Panchayat election in GTA area claims hill TMC president Rajen Mukhia

9:26 AM
TMC hints at rural elections

Writes Vivek Chhetri
Darjeeling, July 1: The Trinamool Congress (Hills) president today hinted that the state was planning to hold the panchayat elections in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration area by the end of this year.

Although the state Election Commission has not made any announcement regarding the polls, Rajen Mukhia, the president, TMC (Hills), said: "I am hopeful that the panchayat election, even if it is for two tiers will take place in October-November this year."

The last time the hill rural polls were held in 2000.

Although the Centre, state and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had agreed to hold the three-tier rural polls in the GTA area in 2011, it was not held as a constitutional amendment is needed to start the process.

As of now, the Constitution has a provision to hold a two-tier panchayat elections in the hills - the gram panchayat and the panchayat samity.

Today, Mukhia said: "I was told to take charge of TMC (Hills) for the second term yesterday. I will try my best to justify the faith reposed on me by the leadership. We will take part in all three elections - panchayat, municipality and the GTA - and we are confident of doing well."
Hill TMC president Rajen Mukhia
Hill TMC president Rajen Mukhia
Trinamul sources said Mukhia's confidence about the poll timing comes after getting strong indications from the party leadership. "He will not speak with such confidence unless he has been given a strong hint," said a source.

Mukhia added that new committees at all levels - from district to panchayat - would be formed in the next two weeks. "The party expects results from us and we must deliver. We are very clear that only those leaders who perform will get a place in the new committees. ... Those who do not perform or are not active in the party will have to sit out irrespective of seniority," he said.

A source said Trinamul was eager to contest the elections in the hills after its performance in the Assembly polls.

While elections to the four hill municipalities - Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik - are due later this year, the GTA polls are scheduled for July next year.

A Morcha leader refused comment on Mukhia's statement. "We would not like to react unless it is discussed in a party meeting."

Via Telegraph



Hill Trinamool Congress geared up for Municipality and GTA elections

8:32 AM
TMC
DARJEELING 1 Jul 2016 It is no work, no rank for hill Trinamool Congress leaders holding portfolios, as the party gears up to take on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the upcoming municipality and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) elections.

Having tasted bitter-sweet defeat in the hills from the GJM in the 2014 Lok Sabha and the state Assembly elections, the hill TMC leadership is wary of a possible backlash from the high command in Kolkata in the event of another rout. “We just cannot keep losing elections. The party high command in Kolkata has expectations from us and we will have to deliver.

Therefore, from today we are going to take drastic measures within the party,” said Rajen Mukhia, the hill TMC president, who on Thursday was re-elected for the second consecutive term.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, TMC candidate Bhaichung Bhutia lost to the BJP’s Surendra Singh Ahluwalia, who was supported by the GJM, by more than one lakh votes.
Hill Trinamool Congress geared up Municipality and GTA elections
Rajen Mukhia  - a file photo
Similarly, in the Assembly election earlier this year, TMC candidates from Darjeeling and Kurseong constituencies lost to the GJM, although the margin of victory was narrower.

On Thursday, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee announced in Siliguri separate committees of the party for the hills and plains regions. Gautam Deb, the state tourism minister, was made the president of the plains committee. Meanwhile, Mukhia said, “It is an honour and a huge responsibility to be made the president for a second term. I thank Didi for appreciating and recognising my sincerity in running the party in the hills.  I will try and live up to the expectations of the party leadership."

Today, the hill TMC president held a meeting in Sukhaypokhari near Darjeeling and asked party leaders there to form a new committee with a strong leadership. “I have made it clear that leaders holding portfolios and staying at home and working will not have it easy. They will be stripped off their rank and will have to be satisfied with being a general member of the party,” Mukhia warned, adding he had asked the Sukhaypokhari unit to form a new committee within a week.

“We will hold similar meetings and form new block committees in various municipality and panchayat areas and conduct fresh membership drives. We will also constitute the district committee within a week and send it to Kolkata for approval,” Mukhia said. Mukhia, who will be in Kolkata tomorrow to attend a meeting of district presidents with Mamata, said he was hopeful that elections to the  two-tier panchayat in the hills would be held at the end of this year. “We are hopeful that by October-November, the two-tier panchayat election will be held. We will contest the panchayat,  municipality and GTA elections,” he said.

Of the possibility of an alliance with the Gorkha National Liberation Front and Jan Andolan Party, who had extended support to the TMC in the Assembly elections, Mukhia said, “We are of the belief that those against the GJM misrule will ally with us. As for seat adjustments, it will be done by our high command whenever required."

(EOIC)

Bimal Gurung says he will win all upcoming elections in the hills

12:14 PM
28 May 2016 Gorkha Janamukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung today said he is confident of his party winning all forthcoming elections in the hills and challenged the Opposition to try and defeat the Morcha, especially in the hills. He said so at Bagdogra airport this afternoon upon returning from Kolkata after attending the swearing-in ceremony of the new state government.

Seen in a particularly happy mood while talking to the journalists present, Gurung said, "We have shown everyone by winning all the three hill seats in the Assembly election that the GJM can win every election. It does not matter whether elections are for the Lok Sabha, the state Assembly, the Municipality, the GTA or Panchayats; there may be different methods to fight them, but victory for us is a surety."

When asked about the GJM polling 50 per cent less votes in comparison to the last elections, he replied, "Politics mein idhar udhar to hotahi hai, lekin kya karna kaisa karna woh to aney wale din hi batayega, sirf kaam karte jana hain." (Ups and downs are normal in politics, but what should be done and how it should be done will be determined by the days to come, what is necessary is to continue to work).
Bimal Gurung says he will win all upcoming elections in the hills
Bimal Gurung a file photo
Gurung stressed the popularity of his party is still strong in the hills and this has been proven by the GJM winning all the three seats. On the probability of more community development boards getting formed, he said that is a matter to be decided by chief minister Mamata Banerjee and he has nothing to say. "I simply want to see the all-round development of the hills and the betterment of the people," said Gurung.

Asked whether he had had any discussion with the chief minister on development regarding the hills, he said, "We had no discussions but we will surely meet soon for talks on such issues, let's see what happens next. I am always in a positive mood and will always work for the people of the hills."

Gurung further said he is hopeful of receiving additional support from Mamata Banerjee for developing the Darjeeling hills as she herself has taken charge of the Hill Affairs Department.


Via: ECOI

JAP scores more votes in municipal areas than GJM in Kalimpong

RAJEEV RAVIDAS

Kalimpong, May 20: The newly-formed Jana Andolan Party lost the Kalimpong Assembly seat to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha but it bagged 12 per cent more votes than its rival in the municipal areas.

In the Kalimpong civic area, JAP got 12,065 votes against the Morcha's 9,295 out of the total 23,591 votes cast. It means JAP secured around 51 per cent votes, while the Morcha got about 39 per cent. Around 10 per cent votes went to others, including NOTA.

Of the 23 Kalimpong municipality wards, JAP led in 19.

Party president Harka Bahadur Chhetri said the performance was encouraging and JAP would have formed the civic board had the municipal polls been held now. "We won in the municipal area. We will continue to pursue our political agenda and contest all coming elections," he said.
 JAP president Harka Bahadur Chhetri 
Asked if JAP would contest in Darjeeling and Kurseong, he replied in affirmative.

Morcha president Bimal Gurung, however, said his party would have won all 23 wards in Kaimpong if there was a civic poll. "MLA elections, MP elections, panchayat elections and municipality elections are different from each other. I will decide what work is to be done and which candidate has to be fielded in the municipal polls. I will work on it in the coming days. I am confident of winning all 23 wards," he said.

The Kalimpong civic body is run by the Morcha with all 23 wards in its kitty. The next municipal elections are due in December.

Telegraph

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha poll winning margin down by 50%

8:31 AM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, May 20: In a span of five years, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's winning margin has come down by more than 50 per cent but the party says its not unduly worried.

"Whether we win by one vote or by one lakh votes, an election win is a win," said Morcha president Bimal Gurung.

The three Morcha candidates, Amar Singh Rai from Darjeeling, Rohit Sharma from Kurseong and Sarita Rai from Kalimpong, definitely won their seats by more than one vote, but five year backs, the party had won each seat by one-lakh margin.

In 2011, Trilok Dewan of the Morcha led GNLF's Bhim Subba in Darjeeling by 1,0,655 votes. Dewan had polled 1,20,532 votes against the GNLF's 13,977. In Kalimpong, Harka Bahadur Chhetri of the Morcha had polled 1,09,102 votes, while his nearest rival, Prakash Dahal of the GNLF, could garner 7,427 votes.
Bimal Gurung
The situation was slightly better for the GNLF in Kurseong, with Pemu Chhetri polling 21,201 votes. But even this could not save her from forfeiting her deposit of Rs 10,000. Rohit Sharma of the Morcha had polled 1, 14,297 votes.

This year, the Morcha won Darjeeling by 49,913 votes, Kurseong by 33,726 votes and Kalimpong by 11, 431 votes.

The victory margin dropped by nearly 90 per cent in Kalimpong. "This is not 2011 and anti-incumbency has definitely come into play," said a Morcha leader.

Right from 2014 Lok Sabha election, consolidation of opposition votes had started. In the Parliament elections, the GNLF had joined hands with the Trinamul Congress similar to this year, and Mahendra P. Lama, who is now with the Jana Andolan Party, was also in the fray.

In 2014, the anti-Morcha votes were 52,629 in Darjeeling, 42,788 in Kalimpong and 62,473 in Kurseong, taking the total number in the hills to 1,57,890. This year, the total anti-Morcha votes cast in the three Assembly segments was 1,94,699. The votes cast in favour of Morcha in the three seats, this year, was 2,50,026.

"This year, we had to brave everything, right from consolidation of opposition votes to support from development boards and then the use of district demand for Kalimpong against us. In the coming elections, these calculations will not hold true as election equations will be different," said Gurung.

He said: "We will, however, do all that is needed to address the grievances of the public even if that means making changes in the leadership."

The Morcha will have to face the civic polls later this year and the all-important GTA elections in July next year. "Four issues were instrumental in bringing the victory margin down. While anti-incumbency factor is one reason, the other reasons were formation of development boards, consolidation of opposition votes and the district issue in Kalimpong," said an observer.

Telegraph

Dooars voted for Trinamul and BJP Assembly Election 2016

8:06 AM
Dooars goes to TMC & BJP

Writes ANIRBAN CHOUDHURY & AVIJIT SINHA

May 20: The tea belt in the Dooars has voted for Trinamul and the BJP, the parties that have negligible or no trade unison base in the region for the first time.

Trinamul has won four of the five seats and the BJP bagged one.

In the past, Malbazar, Nagrakata, Madarihat, Kalchini and Kumargram were with the Left Front or the Congress.

While Malbazar and Nagrakata are in Jalpaiguri district Madarihat, Kalchini and Kumargram are in Alipurduar.

"There was a common trend in the tea belt of the Dooars and Terai. In seats where the Citu or Utuc-backed unions were strong, the CPM or the RSP used to win and in places where Intuc-backed union was strong, the Congress would win," Gopal Pradhan, the president of the Utuc-backed Dooars Cha Bagan Workers' Union, said. "This is the first time that tea workers have voted for Trinamul and the BJP."

He added: "While the BJP does not have any trade union base in the tea belt, Trinamul has many and the total support base of such unions - which claim to be affiliates of the INTTUC - is less compared to Citu, Utuc or Intuc."

Trade union leaders said the campaigns by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee and interventions by both the state and central governments had worked.

"Tea workers who used to vote for the parent parties of the trade unions have started differentiating between unions and political parties," Mani Kumar Darnal, the joint general secretary of the Intuc-backed National Union of Plantation Workers, said.

A change has also been seen in the Terai's two Assembly seats in Darjeeling district.

In Matigara-Naxalbari, Sankar Malakar of the Congress won by a margin of 18,627 votes. In Phansidewa, Sunil Tirkey of the Congress has won by 7,074 votes. In both the seats, BJP's votes have increased by around six times compared to 2011. Trinamul has increased its votes compared to 2014.

Manoj Tigga, the BJP winner from Madarihat, said tea workers had lost faith in unions. "They want state and Centre to address their issues."

Telegraph

GJM triumph: Darjeeling hills vote for Gorkhaland, reject Mamata's TMC

10:00 AM
TMC
Writes: Priyata Brajabasi

Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress' might have swept West Bengal but it failed to dislodge the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in the Darjeeling hills. Despite Banerjee's attempts to gain a foothold in the hills, the GJM won all 3 constituencies in the area - Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong.

The message from the Darjeeling hills is loud and clear - the appeal for Gorkhaland is very much alive. Mamata's rigidity on the Gorkhaland issue has once again led to a near boycott of the TMC in the hills.

Roshan Giri, General Secretary of the GJM, spoke to Catch from Darjeeling.

"We were extremely confident of retaining all the 3 seats in the hills. And that is exactly what happened. We are extremely happy with the results and that people still have faith in us. People are very firm on their appeal for the state of Gorkhaland and they know we are the only party that can help them get there," he said.
Darjeeling hills vote for Gorkhaland
Darjeeling hills vote for Gorkhaland
- Amar Singh Rai of the GJM defeated TMC's Sarda Rai Subba in Darjeeling by 49,441 votes.

- Sarita Rai defeated Jan Andolan Party chief Harka Bahadur Chettri by 11,431 votes in Kalimpong.

- Rohit Sharma of the GJM won the elections from Kurseong for the second consecutive time, this time defeating TMC's Shanta Chettri by 33,726 votes.

While TMC decimated the opposition in the rest of Bengal, the party's promises of development fell on deaf ears in the hills. The party was unable to create a strong opposition to the GJM and the candidates' silence on the Gorkhaland issue evidently worked against them.

The demand for a separate state continues to be the most important factor and the distrust towards Bengal parties continues.

The decimation of TMC in the area is also an indirect win for GJM's ally - the BJP. The BJP won from Darjeeling in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections by allying with the GJM.

The 3 seats won by the GJM gave a sense of respectability to the BJP-led alliance in what was otherwise a mediocre performance in West Bengal. BJP could win only 3 seats in the rest of the state.

Interestingly, the CPI(M) indirectly lent support to the GJM by not putting up any candidates in the hills and asking their supporters to vote for the GJM. The Gorkha National Liberation Front's (GNLF) support to the TMC evidently did not have any effect. Shanta Chettri, a 3-time former GNLF MLA from Kurseong was comprehensively defeated by Rohit Sharma of the GJM.

Harka Bahadur Chettri, former GJM MLA from Kalimpong quit the GJM after being asked to resign from the state government in 2015. He continued his tenure as an independent MLA. Chettri founded his own party called the Jan Adolan Party (JAP) in Kalimpong in early 2016.

Chhetri was initially nominated as a TMC candidate - Mamata Banerjee had announced his name in the TMC candidate list in February. But he quickly clarified, saying that he would fight on a JAP ticket. TMC's backing however proved to be a deal breaker for Kalimpong voters who had otherwise voted for him the last time around.

The appeal of Gorkhaland is a sentimental one. GJM has used this sentiment to their advantage time and again.

Two things remain to be seen in the near future. First, how Mamata Banerjee deals with the Darjeeling hills in her second term as CM, especially given the manner her party has been rejected in the region. Second is whether the GJM is able to leverage its alliance with the BJP at the Centre to push for a separate state,


Via: Catch News

GJM Sarita Rai defeated JAP Harka Bahadur Chhetri in Kalimpong by over 11,000 votes

9:19 AM
Kalimpong, May 19: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha candidate Sarita Rai defeated Harka Bahadur Chhetri in Kalimpong today by over 11,000 votes, leading to a clean sweep by the Darjeeling hills' most powerful party.

But the loss of Chhetri, the sitting MLA of Kalimpong who had broken from the Morcha and floated the Jana Andolan Party (JAP), gives rise to a fear that the new Trinamul government could put in abeyance its previous decision to form a separate Kalimpong district, a plank on which the JAP had fought the elections with support from Trinamul.

Morcha chief Bimal Gurung, whose party won Darjeeling and Kurseong as well, today surprisingly extended an olive branch to Mamata Banerjee soon after the results were declared and said that differences should be set aside and they must work together.

Gurung's relations with Mamata are currently at an all-time low and Mamata had fully extended support to Harka during the Assembly election.
GJM Sarita Rai Won by 11217 vote at ‪‎Kalimpong‬ Constituency
GJM Sarita Rai Won by 11217 vote at ‪‎Kalimpong‬ Constituency

The outgoing government, while announcing the decision to form a Kalimpong district last December, had explicitly said that its decision was influenced by Chhetri, who had quit the Morcha and raised the district issue.

Chhetri today said his loss indicated that the people of Kalimpong were not in favour of the district, but he will render all possible help to the new MLA in realising the objective as it is for the good of the people of Kalimpong.

"Now it is the responsibility of the new MLA because I am no longer in that place...Whatever effort needs to be made from my side, I will definitely do that. But, unfortunately, the people of Kalimpong have decided otherwise. They feel the district is not important to them. However, if the new MLA wants my help at any point in time, I will definitely extend that help because it is for the betterment of the people of Kalimpong," he said.

Asked if he was hopeful that the new Trinamul government would act on the decision taken by the party's previous government, Chhetri put the onus on the chief minister. "It is up to the will of the honourable chief minister. It has the cabinet committee approval. I think it should be taken forward," he said.

Telegraph

 
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