Showing posts with label Siliguri. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Siliguri. Show all posts

We will end ‘goondaraaj’ of GJM says TMC Arup Biswas

6:15 PM
Darjeeling 11 Apr 2016 West Bengal Trinamool Congress general secretary Arup Biswas, who was in Darjeeling today, said his party would not only emerge victorious in the Assembly election, but also finish the ‘goondaraaj’ of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the hills.

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
The TMC believes it has at last established a toe-hold in the hills with the GNLF and the JAP supporting it and the All India Gorkha League asking party workers to vote “consciously” for any party other than the GJM.

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.

Via (EOIC)

Siliguri Terai Gorkha Vikash Manch Extends Support to Trinmool

11:09 AM
In yet another show of solidarity with the Trinmool, the recently formed STGVM which was formed by dissidents from GJM has extended their support to TMC.
Attending the TMC rally in Siliguri, the STGVM delegation led by Mr. Sanam Giri, Samvhu Rai, Uttam Gurung and Ram Chettri yesterday said that "we have placed our demands to the Chief Minister and she has assured us of considering those demands, she has also assured us that she will develop all the Development Boards so we are extending our support to Trinmool and we will vote for TMC."
It might be recalled that Mamata formed a Terai-Dooars Gorkha Development Board on March 17th, 2016 and has allocated Rs 5 Crore to them.
Siliguri Terai Gorkha Vikash Manch Extends Support to Trinmool

Via TheDC

How 'coach' Mamata has made it tough for Bhaichung Bhutia to score a goal

9:25 AM
Writes: Priyata Brajabasi [for Catch News]

Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia is fighting on a Trinamool Congress ticket in the on-going West Bengal Assembly elections from Siliguri. The football icon is taking on veteran CPI(M) leader Ashok Bhattarcharya who is four-time MLA from the same constituency and is currently the mayor of Siliguri.

The Sikkimese player is a popular candidate who is contesting from West Bengal for the second time, the first time being from Darjeeling in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections where he lost to BJP's SS Ahluwalia by 196,795 votes.

His immense popularity in Bengal may not be enough to earn him an assembly seat from the constituency. The party’s decision to field him from Siliguri was a surprise for many including Bhaichung himself.

In a conversation with Catch in Siliguri Bhaichung said, “When I have decided to join the TMC, I have to listen to the head of the party. It’s the leader that decides who should contest and from where. In football too the coach decides where I play, when I play and whether I am fit enough to play. I may or may not be happy about the decision but I have to listen to the leader. Didi wanted me to fight from Siliguri. But it’s not like I was dying to contest from here.”
Ashok Bhattarcharya
Ashok Bhattarcharya
Many feel Mamata Banerjee’s decision is almost a free pass for the CPI(M) in the area. Political commentator Partha Pratim Biswas feels this was a bad decision on Mamata’s part. “We love Bhaichung Bhutia, the footballer, but we don’t think that he is experienced enough as a politician, especially in front of Ashok Bhattarcharya who has won from Siliguri multiple times. He should have contested from an area where this opponent wasn’t as experienced or well liked.”

CPI(M) heavyweight Ashok Bhattarcharya is very confident about his chances of winning. Speaking to Catch News in Siliguri he said, “Bhaichung was a very good footballer but he is not a very good politician. He doesn’t know Siliguri or its people and they do not know him either. If it were a clash between two footballers, he would have won. But it’s a political battle and I don’t think he has enough experience to win.”

However, Ashok Bhattarcharya was defeated in the previous assembly elections by TMC’s Rudra Nath Bhattacharya. “There was a TMC wave in 2011, people wanted a change. So I was defeated. But after seeing Mamata’s fascist rule in the state and the various corruption charges against TMC, they will see the Left as a better bet”.

What works in Bhaichung's favour
However, Bhaichung’s potential as a youth leader cannot be written off.

Shyam Roy, an engineering student in North Bengal University feels that Bhaichung Bhutia is exactly what Siliguri needs. “Siliguri has immense potential to be one of the biggest commercial cities in the state as well as the country. It can be a sports city as well given the sportsmen and sports enthusiasts in the region. Siliguri requires a leader with fresh and modern ideas. Bhaichung he can bring that to Siliguri, something other leaders cannot offer. He deserves a chance.”

Bhaichung’s decision to contest from West Bengal despite being a Sikkimese stems from his long association with the state. “I have lived in Kolkata for 25 years. I have played for Kolkata based clubs all my life. I left Sikkim when I was 15. I feel like I am from Bengal and people have accepted me as their own. This is why when I got an offer from Mamata Banerjee to contest from Darjeeling in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and now again, I accepted the opportunity.”

His association with TMC, he says, happened by chance. “I was always interested in politics even during my football days. I always thought I would join politics eventually but the timing was something I wasn’t too sure about. When Mamata Banerjee approached me, I was surprised but I took it up the challenge. Had I been approached by a party in Delhi or Sikkim or even Manipur I may have joined if I felt it was right”.

Gorkhaland question
As Siliguri comes under the Darjeeling district, the Gorkhaland issue is crucial here. The Gorkhali population in Siliguri is about 40%.

Bhutia is very categorical that he would be very happy if Gorkhaland is formed. This, in spite of the fact that Mamata Banerjee has clearly stated that she will not allow the division of the state.

“It is not as if the TMC candidates in the hills are against Gorkhaland. They have sacrificed their entire lives for the people of the hills and for Gorkhaland. But they have realised that development in the hills is more important than separation,” Bhutia said.

He further accused the BJP of double standards.
“People have realised that the party at the Centre is not on board; the BJP MP from Darjeeling hasn’t raised the issue of Gorkhaland in Parliament despite winning the seat on an appeal for Gorkhaland. It is not just Mamata or the state government that is against the movement, the Centre is as well,” Bhutia added.

Mamata Banerjee’s move to bring ex-GJM leader and sitting MLA Harkha Bahadur Chettri into the TMC fold has pushed the GJM and the Left parties closer. Ashok Bhattarcharya announced last month that the Left would not field candidates in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.

While speaking to Catch News, Ashok Bhattarcharya said, “We are not supporting the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) nor are we seeking support from them. But both the Left and the GJM are fighting against TMC. We are weak in the hills, and we don't want division of anti-TMC votes. We will welcome anyone who defeats the TMC”

Left leaders have encouraged their supporters and workers in the hills to vote for the GJM without lending official support to the party. This means that the Left and the BJP, which is an ally of the GJM, are on the same side in the hills.

The Left Front however has openly opposed the GJM’s appeal for Gorkhaland.

Tough competition for Bhaichung
Despite being a celebrity candidate, Bhaichung has a difficult road ahead of him. “You think I achieved everything I did in football, easily? Nothing in life comes easy. Yes Ashok Bhattarcharya has won the seat 4 times and he has been a state minister too. It will be a tough fight but I think I am better prepared, certainly more than I was last time around. We are more organised. My chances seem good.”

Via: Catch News, Originally posted in:

Mamata to visit Siliguri again to campaign for Baichung

11:18 AM

Siliguri, 24 Mar 2016: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee is slated to visit Siliguri on April 10 to launch a fresh campaign in support of Baichung Bhutia, the Trinamool Congress candidate from Siliguri.

Party sources said the TMC chief will put in every effort to outdo CPM candidate, Ashok Bhattacharya. The chief minister was in Siliguri only last week to participate in a rally from Darjeeling More to Hasmi Chowk in support of Baichung.

And according to Baichung, the TMC chief plans to campaign for him on April 10 and address a public gathering at the Suryanagar playground. It will be her first public meeting in Siliguri for the Assembly election.
Mamata to visit Siliguri again to campaign for Baichung

Meanwhile, Baichung has started preparations of his own to make the April 10 meeting a success. He is working hard and campaigning from early in the mornings to late in the evenings in every corner of Siliguri. He says he is borrowing a page from football to his poll strategy and his coach, Mamata Banerjee, will provide every possible support to score a goal this time around.

Via: The Eco of India

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha ally with BJP only in plains for Assembly Election

10:03 AM
Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, March 24: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today said it will only support the BJP in the plains Assembly segments at a time the Left Front has not fielded any nominee against the party in the hills.

Earlier this month, the Left Front had said it would support the Morcha in the three hill seats.

Today, Morcha general Roshan Giri said: "We have fielded our own candidates in the three hill segments of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong as well as Islampur and Chopra in the plains. Apart from this, our choices (nominees) have been given BJP tickets from Kalchini, Madarihat, Nagrakata and Kumargram. In the rest of the seats, our party will support the BJP candidates as we are in an alliance with them. We have never sought support from other parties as we are in an alliance with the BJP."

The CPM's decision to not contest in the hills had put pressure on the Morcha with the Jan Andolan Party (JAP), alleging that Bimal Gurung's outfit had an understanding with those against statehood.
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri
Today, Morcha president Gurung said: "We are confident of our victory in the hills but we have to work hard in the plains. We cannot take things lightly even in Kalchini."

The Morcha's Bishal Lama has been given the BJP ticket from Kalchini.

In the last two Assembly polls, Morcha-supported Wilson Chapramary had won from Kalchini. This time, however, Chapramary is the Trinamul nominee.

Observers said the Morcha was eager to distance itself from the CPM's announcement of support as its rivals in the hills are expected to raise the issue during campaigning.

CPM state secretariat member Asok Bhattacharya had said: "We have not fielded any candidate in the hills as we believe that the Morcha is the strongest political party there and since it is also against the TMC, we did not want any division in the anti-TMC votes. The support, however, does not mean that we are seeking support from the Morcha in the plains."

In another development, GNLF's Sagar Rai, Basant Pradhan, Jipsang Lepcha and Migma Sherpa joined the Morcha, along with 40-odd supporters.

The ABGL today named Laxman Pradhan, the party vice-president, as its Darjeeling candidate.

The names of the candidates for Kalimpong and Kurseong seats have not been finalised yet.


Siliguri Terai Gorkha Nagarik Manch formed

Writes: Prashant Acharya

20 Mar 2016  Siliguri Terai Gorkha Nagarik Manch - an umbrella organisation of the Gorkhas of Siliguri sub division and its surrounding areas was formed here on Sunday.

The meeting held here at Bhanubhakta Samiti was attended by various social and cultural organizations of the Gorkhas in the region. The Manch aims to look into the various issues related with the community in the region.

The meeting which lasted almost four hours after detailed discussions unanimously decided to form Siliguri Terai Gorkha Nagarik Manch.

The Manch as an umbrella organization of the Gorkhas in the region would prioritize the issues related with the Gorkhas in the region and find out the ways to solve them. The issues would be social, cultural, educational and literary while the Manch would also work as a pressure group to ensure that the community people are not deprived of their rightful share in all spheres.
Siliguri Terai Gorkha Nagarik Manch formed
Siliguri Terai Gorkha Nagarik Manch formed
An ad hoc committee has been formed where Krishna Lama has been selected as the president. Pramod Giri is selected as the secretary of the Manch. Saman Giri and Prasad Thakuri are the vice presidents. Padam Chettri is the working president. Jyoti Ghmirey and Buddha Tamang are the assistant secretaries. Sambu Rai is the media secretary. The advisors are Bini Sharma, Shankar Adhikari, Badri Sharma, Gyanendra Khatiwada, Dilip Tiwari and Dr C P Sharma,

The meeting presided over by D N Nepal also decided to form a constitution subcommittee with Dilip Tiwari, Hemant Gautam, Gyanendra Dahal, T B Ghataney and Avay Khaling as the members of the subcommittee.

[Via: ECOI]

Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri slams GJM alliance with CPI(M)

10:12 AM
Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri expressed his utter surprise upon the alliance of GJMM and CPI(M) in this coming elections. This is a Black Day for Gorkhas. Because of CPI(M) more than 12 hundreds Gorkhaland martyrs have lost their lives during 86 Gorkhaland agitation and also five Gorkhaland supporters in Sibsu in 2007, it is very unfortunate for Gorkha community to alliance with such a party which has records of insulting our women and lathi-charge on peaceful rally of Ex army. This clearly indicates a motive of GJMM, said Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri.

CPM have recently extended their unconditional support to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in three hill Assembly seats to defeat the Trinamool Congress in the Assembly Election 2016. "With a view to defeat the Trinamool Congress in the three seats of Darjeeling , Kurseong and Kalimpong, we have decided to extend support to the regional party which has the sway in the region," said Communist Party of India-Marxist Darjeeling secretary Jibesh Sarkar said.
Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri slams GJM alliance with CPI(M)
Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri slams GJM alliance with CPI(M) 
On the other hand Mamata Banerjee in a rally in Siliguri attacked on CPM for their support to GJM " Ohey Gurung Bhai, Siliguri Eso, Tomay Chara Amar Jeta Nai... (Dear brother Gurung, please come in Siliguri. I cannot win without you)," Mamata said, scoffing at Asok Bhattacharya, the CPM candidate for Siliguri. "They are speaking over the phone with Morcha leaders and asking for support in the plains, knowing well that the Morcha has an alliance with the BJP."

Gorkha Rashtriya Congress to contest election with ‪Darjeeling‬-‪Sikkim‬ merger as agenda

11:00 PM
The Gorkha Rashtriya Congress party, which is championing the merger of Darjeeling with Sikkim, today announced its decision of fielding candidates from the three seats in the hills and one from Siliguri for the state Assembly election.

Senior leaders of the party said they would make the merger issue the main election agenda, which is in sharp contrast to the almost customary compulsion of other political parties of making either the demand for a Gorkhaland state or development their principal pursuits.

Formed in 2004, the GRC has made the merger of Darjeeling with Sikkim its sole issue, and has taken up this demand with the Centre over the years. “We will field candidates from the Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Siliguri assembly constituencies,” said GRC convener Subodh Pakhrin. “Our election agenda will remain the merger of Darjeeling with Sikkim as the Darjeeling hills were never a part of Bengal. We believe a merger to be the only plausible solution for the Darjeeling hills.”
Aiming to strike a chord with the popular imagination in the hills, the GRC also intends to make the merger issue a ‘demonstrative’ movement. “Bengal cannot give a Gorkhaland state because Darjeeling was never its part. Therefore, if we win we will go to the Sikkim assembly instead of Bengal. In a way this election will be a demonstrative one for us,” Pakhrin said.
Gorkha Rashtriya Congress to field candidates with ‪Darjeeling‬-‪Sikkim‬ merger issue as agenda
Gorkha Rashtriya Congress to field candidates with ‪Darjeeling‬-‪Sikkim‬ merger issue as agenda
It may be mentioned here that Darjeeling was gifted to the British by the Rajah of Sikkim on February 1, 1835 by executing a Deed of Grant. Meanwhile, the names of the four GRC candidates announced today are that of Ashok Kumar Lepcha (68) from Darjeeling, who is the working president of the party; Dhurba Dewan (47), the GRC assistant secretary who will contest from Kurseong, general secretary Amar Lucksom (69) from Kalimpong; and Rabindra Rai (36) from Siliguri constituency. Rai is an executive member of the GRC.

Arguing in favour of the merger issue, GRC working president Lepcha said, “Till now 27 MLAs from the hills and 15 from Siliguri have been sent to the Vidhan Sabha. But the problems plaguing the hills have yet to be addressed or solved. We believe the West Bengal state assembly can fulfill nothing for us. There are several methods of opposing and hence we have decided that even if we go on to win, we will neither sit in Bengal’s Vidhan Sabha nor take from it our salaries and pensions. We will disclose later as to how we plan to sit in the Sikkim assembly.”

The GRC will be contesting for the first time in the state Assembly election. The party had fielded a candidate in the Lok Sabha election in 2014, though.


NBU Exams postponed due to Assembly elections 2016

11:23 AM
Siliguri, March 11: The North Bengal University (NBU) today postponed Part I, II and III examinations of BA, BSc and BCom honours and general streams from April 4 to May 25 as the previous dates clashed with the Assembly elections.

Sushanta Das, the controller of examinations at the NBU, said Part I, II and III papers of the BA, BSc, BCom (honours) and Part III papers of general courses would start from May 25 and end on June 9.

"After these exams are over, BA, BSc and BCom papers of Part I and Part II general courses will begin from June 13 and end on July 19," he said here.

Das said the decision had been taken after the district administrations of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri had requisitioned colleges under the varsity for election purposes.

"We have received letters from the authorities of Siliguri College and Parimal Mitra College in Malbazar, saying the respective district administrations had requisitioned the colleges for the Assembly elections on different days in March, April and May, that is till the completion of the election process. We have got to know that colleges in other districts, too, may be requisitioned for the purpose. Under these circumstances, we had to postpone the undergraduate examinations of the colleges affiliated to the NBU from April 4 to May 25," Das said.
NBU Exams postponed due to Assembly elections 2016
North Bengal University (NBU)
The controller of examinations said around two lakh students would be appearing for the undergraduate exams under the NBU.

"We will have around two lakh students appearing for the examinations in different colleges under the NBU this year. The new exam schedule will be dispatched to the colleges on Monday so that the authorities can inform their students," Das said.


Bhaichung Bhutia seeks transfer of 'voter id' to Kolkata from Sikkim

10:06 AM
March 7: Former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, who has been fielded as the Trinamul Congress candidate in the Siliguri Assembly seat, today got his name deleted from the voters' list in Sikkim, and sought the transfer of his "voter ID" to Kasba constituency in Calcutta.

Yesterday, The Telegraph had reported that Bhaichung's name figures in the voters' list of his home state of Sikkim and not that of Bengal. This should have made him ineligible to contest the Assembly elections in Bengal, according to the Handbook of Candidates published by the Election Commission of India.

Polling in the Kasba Assembly seat will take place on April 30 and the footballer's name can be added to the voters' list there on March 11, Election Commission sources in Calcutta said.

The former soccer player today submitted a letter handwritten by himself to the chief electoral officer of Sikkim in Gangtok, seeking the deletion of his name from the voters' list of Barfung Assembly segment in South district.
Bhaichung Bhutia seeks transfer of 'voter id' to Kolkata from Sikkim
Bhaichung Bhutia during the Trinamul meeting in
Siliguri on Monday. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
"This is to inform you that I am hereby surrendering my voter ID from Sanganath, Barfung Constituency, Sikkim. I am seeking to transfer my voter ID to 149, Kasba Constituency, Kolkata, West Bengal..." reads the application.

He has also mentioned in the application that "I would be grateful if you can kindly withdraw my name from the voter list in Sikkim".

A senior official in the chief electoral officer's office in Gangtok said: "Bhutia came to submit the letter this morning. We received the letter and forwarded it to the (South) district collector who is also the district electoral officer."

Later in the afternoon, Raj Yadav, the district collector of South Sikkim, informed that he had received the application and deleted Bhaichung's name from the voters' list. A confirmation letter has been sent to the office of the state election department, he said.

"Since the process of rectifying mistakes, addition and deletion of names in the electoral roll is going on, Bhaichung Bhutia's name was deleted from the list today itself," Raj said.

The Telegraph report published on March 6
Bhaichung had said he had transposed his name from Sikkim to Calcutta. Transposition refers to the deletion of a name from one voter list and its inclusion in another. This is a compulsory duty for every voter who has been staying at a different address for over six months.

"In the case of parliamentary elections, a candidate only needs to be an elector from any part of India. If he is, he can contest from any constituency," a poll official had said on Saturday. "But in the case of Assembly elections, the candidate has to be a voter from the state concerned. He can then contest from any Assembly constituency in the state."

Bhaichung, who spoke to the media in Siliguri this evening after a meeting of Trinamul, iterated that his name was on the voters' list of Bengal, but refused to share details.

However, the South Sikkim district collector today said: "If he intends to transpose or shift his name to any other Assembly constituency, an intimation from the district collector concerned, where he wants his name to be shifted, has to reach my office. However, till date, we have not received any such intimation. The deletion was made on the basis of the request made by Bhaichung Bhutia," said Yadav.

In Siliguri, the ex-player said: "My name has been included in the voters' list of Bengal. I would like to tell you that my name has been shifted to Bengal. I don't want to give details. At the same time, I would like to make one point, that it is about the party. It is about the Trinamul Congress. It is about Mamata Banerjee. Today, we are speaking of candidates... whether I remain a candidate or not, Gautamda (Gautam Deb) remains a candidate or not...there will be a candidate of the Trinamul Congress here. We have to work for the Trinamul Congress here and we believe workers will work for the party and Mamata Banerjee."


TMC files Bhaichung Bhutia as its candidate in Siliguri Assembly seat

8:28 AM

Siliguri, March 4: The Trinamul Congress today announced former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia as its candidate in Siliguri Assembly seat, where the Left Front will field mayor Asok Bhattacharya in all likelihood.

Trinamul leaders feel the former Indian football captain cannot pose a challenge to Bhattacharya given the Left Front's victory in elections to the Siliguri Municipal Corporation last year.

The mayor said dropping the Siliguri sitting MLA, Rudranath Bhattacharya, from the list of candidates proved that Trinamul couldn't bank on the latter as his name had cropped up in the SJDA scam.

"It does not matter to us who the rival candidates are as we consider all of them as our rivals in elections. But the manner in which the sitting MLA has been replaced by a new candidate in Siliguri seat indicates that Trinamul cannot bank on Rudranath Bhattacharya, whose name was linked to the SJDA scam. Our allegation that he was involved in the scam has been virtually proved by Trinamul's decision," said the CPM leader.

Rudranath Bhattacharya was the chairman of the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority when around Rs 150 crore had been paid to private firms even before projects assigned to them were completed.

In the 2011 elections, Asok was defeated by Rudranath by a margin of 5,006 votes.

The decision to nominate Bhaichung to the Siliguri seat comprising 33 wards of the SMC has not gone down well with Darjeeling district Trinamul leaders.

"Bhaichung has a huge acceptance among people as a footballer. That is why he has been chosen to contest against Asok Bhattacharya, who is a heavy weight. But the decision would surely dampen the spirit of leaders and workers who are with the party throughout the year. Bhaichung is an occasional visitor and not a regular party worker. Rivals will seize on this aspect. The presence of Bhaichung in Siliguri vis-à-vis that of Bhattacharya is minimal and it would make our task tough," said a Trinamul leader who didn't want to be named.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Bhaichung had been fielded by Trinamul in Darjeeling and he was defeated by S.S. Ahluwalia of the BJP by 1,97,239 votes.

Bhaichung Bhutia
Another Trinamul leader noted that when Bhattacharya was a minister, Bhaichung had attended several programmes with him. "The player had shared the dais with the CPM leader and even appreciated his initiatives with regard to sports. When Bhaichung campaigns for the polls, we don't believe that he will be able to speak much against Bhattacharya. If the candidate is a local Trinamul leader, he will be in a better position to target Asok Bhattacharya. In short, unlike local Trinamul leaders, the footballer has no idea of the basic issues people face and shortcomings of the civic body headed by Bhattacharya," the Trinamul leader said on condition of anonymity.

Observers have said the mayor has an edge over the footballer, especially when the Left Front and the Congress are inching closer to an electoral understanding.

Trinamul insiders said intense lobbying had led to the candidature of the footballer in Siliguri. "It was the same reason that saw Rudranath Bhattacharya being fielded in Siliguri in the 2011 Assembly polls," said a party insider.

All district presidents of the party in north Bengal, except Ranjan Sarkar, who heads the organisation in Darjeeling, were fielded.

Asked if Bhaichung's candidature made the contest easier for the CPM in Siliguri, Jibesh Sarkar, the Darjeeling district Left Front convener, said: "We cannot say whether the contest has become easier or not for us. We would like to say that he is a good player at the football ground. But in the political arena, he is not none to be reckoned with. We are confident of securing the Siliguri seat."

Hill CPI(M) Points Out Bengal Discrimination in Ration Distribution

10:47 AM
The Hill CPI(M) team yesterday led by Mr. Tara Sundas paraded evidences of deliberate discrimination by the Bengal government against the hill people.

Highlighting the discrimination, Mr. Sundas said "while the victims of calamity in Singur are given 8kgs of ration every week, the victims of Aila in Darjeeling continue to get only 11kgs of ration every month... how or why is our suffering any different than the suffering of the people in the plains? why is it that the hill people are not given equal ration, despite the fact that the same order is applicable in Singur and Darjeeling hills?"

Mr. Sundas further said, "On 20th March 2014 the Central govt decided to distribute ration at the lowest rate to 6.20 crore people, yet the people in Darjeeling who are on the verge of starvation have never benefited from this low cost ration... so where are the ration going? Why is Bengal govt depriving the hill community, despite the central government passing the order?"
Ration in hills distributed from sacks and Ration in Siliguri handed out in proper packages
Ration in hills distributed from sacks and Ration in Siliguri handed out in proper packages
Mr. Sundas also showed that in Siliguri ration is handed out in packets, which makes it clean and safe... where as in the hills the ration is still handed out from the sacks, which makes the ration go bad very soon. He added that often rotten ration is distributed in the hills.

CPI(M) has threatened a widespread protest if the hill people continue to be discriminated against.

Via TheDC

Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha plans motorcycle rally for Gorkhaland

10:50 PM
Darjeeling 25 Feb 2016 The youth front of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today said it plans to organise a motorcycle rally from Darjeeling to Siliguri in the first week of March to rekindle the demand for Gorkhaland among the general public of the hills, especially the youths.

Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha general secretary Amrit Yonzon said a series of programmes will be held following the bike rally. “We have lined up a series of programmes in the month of March starting with a bike rally from Darjeeling to Siliguri to garner popular support for the demand of Gorkhaland. We intend to focus more on the youths and raise awareness among them,” he said. “More than 100 bikes will participate in the rally, the date for which will be announced subsequently. We also plan to hold street corner meetings along the way downhill in places such as Sonada,Kurseong and Sukna.”

According to Yonzon, the point where the bike rally is to end in Siliguri will be decided upon by the administration and the GJYM is awaiting confirmation on this. “A few days after the rally, we intend to hold a three-day public workshop on the statehood issue under the stewardship of our party leaders. We also plan to hold public meetings across the hills focusing on the youths,” informed Yonzon further.
Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha plans motorcycle rally for Gorkhaland
GJM Bike Rally 2010
The GJYM is also mulling on reshuffling its central committee in order to strengthen the organisation and increase member numbers from the Terai and Dooars regions to take the total to 50 or thereabouts. According to the youth front leader, “Of late, we have been noticing the lacklustre attitude among the youths in terms of the statehood demand. Hence, we want them to start participating actively in party programmes and meetings. Political observers in the hills believe the GJM leadership may have directed the party’


Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJMM) splits again

7:22 PM

SNS | Kolkata | 06 February, 2016: Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJMM), the political outfit in the Hills demanding separate state of Gorkhaland, suffered another split on Friday when eight of its central committee members broke away and floated a new forum - Dooars -Siliguri - Terai Bharatiya Nepalese Developmental Forum.

Significantly, the eight met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna during the day and sought her help in addressing the problems of the people from the Terai-Dooars areas. Its chief convener, Praveen Singh, said that the forum has placed the demand for a separate board for the Terai-Dooars people on the similar lines of Lepcha, Bhutia, Tamang and Mangar Boards. This is the second time the GJMM is facing a crisis after its MLA from Kalim pong , Harka Bahadur Chhetri, broke away from the party a month ago and formed a political platform, Jana Andolan Party (JAP) in protest against the authoritarian attitude of the GJMM president, Bimal Gurung and the arbitrary way he was running the Gorkha Territorial Administration, an autonomous body formed for executing the administration and development in the Hills.

Chhetri has come in full support of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her vision of development for the Hill people. He said that while peace prevailed in the Hills and people were benefiting from the development work of the Trinamul Congress government, Gurung was unnecessarily trying to create tension in the area by stoking the demand for Gorkhaland.

"People want to live peacefully and they want development, education for their children and jobs," said Chhetri. However, neither JAP nor the forum for Terai and Dooars is willing to show their card as yet. They are considering to contest the election on their own strength as of now. "There are at least 12 assembly segments in Terai and Dooars and whether we will contest or not is yet to be decided," Singh added. On tying up with Trinamul Congress in the coming assembly election, the forum is yet to take a call. Meanwhile, GJMM had already pledged to join any alliance, which will take on the ruling party.

Two Minor girls from Tea Garden rescued from traffickers by KUK NGO

10:03 AM

Siliguri2 Feb 2016 Two minor girls from closed Panighatta Tea Garden were rescued from allegedly being trafficked to Dubai with the efforts of   NGO KanchanjungaUddhar Kendra (KUK), Siliguri and Railway Protection Force (RPF) Patna.

According to the information one local agent Guria Darjee from Jabra More, Naxalbari has been arrested who had contacted the victims first for providing jobs.
The victims are now in Patna and kept in a government shelter home. Patna police is trying to trace the other agents involved in the case.

Two minor girls were lured with providing lucrative jobs were travelling with an agent from Nepal in a train from NJP on 31st January. Family members informed KUK when their children didn't return home till evening.
Two Minor girls from Tea Garden rescued from traffickers by KUK NGO
Human trafficking, - Representational image
RanguSouriya, general secretary of KUK told that the victim's family contacted her for help. After filing the missing dairy at Panighatta she tried to contact the victim's number. After repeated call she convinces them to inform about their whereabouts. The girls informed that they were travelling in a train with a lady from Nepal and also informed the name of a local agent.

Later police traced the number and then with the help of RPF Patna they were rescued the minor girls but unfortunately the agent somehow manage to flee from the train.
According to the information there were other three girls missing from eastern Nepal and these agents had taken them in another train. Plans were to make all five girls fly on the same date to Dubai from New Delhi.

Souriya who recently received award from President of India among 100 powerful women of India is doing tremendous work to save the lives of hundreds of girls trafficked from various parts of India including Nepal.

Till now more than 700 girls has been rescued from brothels and from the hands of pimps since 2004.

Souriya informed that till date 14 traffickers has been arrested and four were convicted. Vicky Biswa from Kalchini has been convicted life time similarly BinayTamang of Darjeeling with 14 years, SangitaDarjee of Naxalbari with 10 years and JamunaThapa a brothel manager from Pune and resident of Nepal with 7 years imprisonment.


Sex racket busted in Pradhan Nagar Siliguri

2:14 PM

Sex racket busted in Siliguri last night after police arrested five people including three females and two males from a flat at Pradhan Nagar.

On a secret information police conducted raid in a flat where the immoral activities was being carried out since long. Police informed that among arrested three females two hailed from Hoogly and one resident of Islampur while Akash Shah and Sukumar Das were from Siliguri resident.

Police also informed that Akash was involved in the racked since long. All arrested were produced in Siliguri Court today where their bail plea was rejected.


Bimal Gurung slams Mamata Banerjee for dictatorship

10:51 AM
Writes: Prashant Acharya

Siliguri 31 Jan 2016 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief BimalGurung slammed Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for dictatorship rule in the state.

Gurung who was in Salugara near Siliguri to inaugurate All India Gurung (Tamu) Buddhist Association conference told media persons that 17 candidates from GJM will contest in the upcoming Assembly poll to fight against the Trinamool Congress led government.

He said that till date the party has not decided about making alliance with any political party but can join hands with Congress or Left Front just to defeat TMC.

He also said that the party will give tickets to the candidates belonging to all community including Muslim, Rajbonshi, Adivashi and others.
Gurung slams Mamata for dictatorship
Mamata Banerjee and Bimal Gurung
Gurung also informed that he will narrate all the issues of GTA area including tribal status for 11 communities in the tripartite meeting at Delhi. Though the meeting was schedule on 2nd February was postponed.

He said, "Party will make all efforts to defeat TMC in the assembly poll as the chief minister Mamata Banerjee is visiting hills every time to enforce divide and rule policy and people should be conscious about her motive."

Source: ECO

GJM ready for alliance "Sole Aim is To Defeat Trinmool" - Bimal Gurung

10:30 AM
Bimal Gurung today said the sole aim of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the coming Assembly polls was the defeat of Trinamul and the hill party was ready to forge an alliance with the CPM or the Congress for the purpose.

Talking to journalists at Dagapur, near Siliguri, yesterday afternoon, the Morcha president said: " Trinamul ko jaise bhi ho harana hai (Trinamul has to be defeated anyhow)."

Gurung went on: "We had supported Trinamul in the 2011 Assembly polls and given a reply to the erstwhile (Left Front) government through the ballot after it had fired bullets at us. It seems the time has come again to give a befitting reply to the chief minister and Trinamul, who are indulging in the politics of division. We are in the process of devising a strategy to ensure Trinamul's defeat and will field candidates in the maximum possible Assembly seats across north Bengal. We are against the divisive politics and will soon organise a public meeting in Siliguri, in which people from different communities will participate in large numbers."
GJM ready for alliance "Sole Aim is To Defeat Trinmool" - Bimal Gurung
GJM ready for alliance "Sole Aim is To Defeat Trinmool" - Bimal Gurung
This is the second time in the past 24 hours that the Morcha chief has spoken in an aggressive manner against Trinamul. Yesterday, he had challenged Mamata to contest from any of the three Assembly seats in the hills.

Asked if the Morcha would ally with anti-Trinamul parties, Gurung did not rule out the possibility.

"There might be an alliance with the Congress or the CPM, but we will never tie up with Trinamul. The chief minister is doing politics in a dangerous manner in the hills by forming boards for different communities. She has never taken any such decision with regard to the plains where several minority communities live in. This shows she is resorting to divisive politics only in the hills. We will no longer let such politics work in the hills and will take all possible efforts to defeat her party in the Assembly elections," said the Morcha chief.

Gurung, a Morcha source said, would launch the election campaign highlighting peace and amity.

"He visited the Terai today and will tour the Dooars to kick-off our election campaign. The idea is to explain how the hills are suffering because of Trinamul's politics," the source said.

However, CPM state secretary, Surjya Kanta Mishra, however, said the Morcha would have to snap ties with the BJP to form an alliance with the Left.

Told about Gurung's comment on an anti-Trinamul alliance, Surjya Kanta Mishra said in Siliguri: "They (Morcha) will have to snap its ties with the BJP and then, it can join hands with us. We cannot induct anybody who has ties with the BJP into our fold. Like we want Trinamul to be removed from power in the state, we want the BJP to be dislodged from the Centre."

Later in the evening, Morcha sources said the Terai committee of the party had been reshuffled and Shankar Adhikary was made the new president and Babu Lama the general secretary.

Source - Telegraph‎

Bengal Invites GTA for Talks on Regularizing Over 5000 Casual Staff

8:01 AM

Writes: Vivek Chhetri

The Bengal government has invited the GTA for talks at Nabanna on January 29 to discuss the long-pending demand of the regularisation of jobs of over 5,000 causal employees at the hill body.

"We received a communication yesterday saying the state government had called a meeting on January 29. The home secretary, Moloy De, will chair the meeting as he is also in charge of the hill affairs department," Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha as well as an executive GTA Sabha member, said today.

"I will be attending the meeting at Nabanna (Howrah). The regularisation of casual staff is an important issue for the GTA. That is the only agenda of the meeting," he added.

The state's invitation to the GTA for the bipartite meeting has come a few days after the Morcha rejected chief minister Mamata Banerjee's call for talks on any issue.

Mamata had said in Siliguri on Thursday that if anyone had problems, they should meet her for talks and there should not be agitation in the Darjeeling hills.

The next day, Morcha president Bimal Gurung said he would meet the chief minister only if she declared that she would put an end to the state government's alleged "divide and rule" policy in the hills and agreed to talk on Gorkhaland.

At the moment, there are 5,321 casual employees at the GTA and since 2007, they have been demanding that they be made permanent. According to the Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangathan, which is an affiliate of the Morcha, the hill body has now 4,011 vacancies.

On May 14 last year, the high court had asked the state government to convene a meeting with the GTA in four months to decide how it would set in motion the process of absorbing the casual employees of the GTA.

In the order, Justice Sanjib Banerjee also told the state to allow two representatives of the JAKS, the sole association of casual employees at the GTA, to attend the meeting on the regularisation.

But soon after, the state filed an appeal with the division bench and the directive was stayed.

On September 17, 2009, following a hunger strike, the state government had given a written assurance to the JAKS.

A fax sent by the then home secretary Ardhendu Sen had stated: "The government has authorised the DGHC to start regularisation process against the sanctioned vacancies in all categories which it is authorised to do as per the existing act and the recruitment rules there under."

The fast was lifted following the assurance. The state government, however, went back on its assurance.

In 2011, the government decided to do away with the six-month contract system for the casual staff.

Source: Telegraph

Mamata Banerjee please Siliguri journalists ahead of assembly poll

9:07 AM

Siliguri 21 Jan 2016 Ahead of Bengal assembly poll Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seemed to very kind on the journalists of North Bengal.

During her speech after the opening function of Bengal Safari Park, the CM announced of providing land for Siliguri Journalists Club at Ektiashal near Siliguri and sanctioning Rs 20 lakh for the construction the club building from the MP fund.

She said journalists who are working for the upliftment of the society should have a proper place and good environment to work.

MsBanerjee also announced free health benefits equal to the employees to state government for accredited journalists and asked other journalists to start the process for accreditation by contacting the concern authorities. She also said that she will instruct the concernment department heads to provide all supports for the journalists.

She said, "I have brought a couple of good news for journalists, one is providing land and sanctioning Rs 20 lakh and the other is free health benefits equal to that of the state government employees."

She also informed that the notification will be given and journalists can avail the said benefit from March end. She also brought 200 woolen shawls for the journalists as a winter gift. 

Source EOI

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