Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Polling in Hills could run into inclement weather today

- AMITAVA BANERJEE

DARJEELING: Polling in the Hills on April 17 could run into rough weather. The Indian Meteorolog­ical Department (IMD) has issued an amber warning over this region for the next 48 hours. Coupled with the tough terrain, inclement weather could make matters more challengin­g.

Friday saw sporadic rainfall, hailstorm, thundering and gusty winds in the Hills as polling personnel departed for the booths.

The IMD forecast for the next 48 hours includes thundersto­rm, hailstorm, gusty winds and rain. An “amber” warning has been issued for this region.

“This weather condition is owing to an upper air trough and strong moisture incursion from Bay of Bengal over this region. Thundersto­rm accompanie­d by hail, gusty winds and rain has affected this region and will continue for the next 48 hours,” stated Gopinath Raha, in charge of IMD, Gangtok.

In the last 24 hours, Darjeeling witnessed 13 mm of rainfall (from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm on Friday) and the plains of Siliguri 12mm.

Darjeeling district with five Assembly constituen­cies has a total elector strength of 1222190 with 609933 males and 612243 females and 14 third gender electors. There are 1,413 polling stations in the district.

The Kalimpong district has 209760 electors, including 103961 male and 105799 females. There are 301 polling stations.

It is a triangular battle in the Hills between Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binoy), Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Bimal faction) and the BJP supported by alliance parties, including the GNLF and the CPRM. TMC has not fielded candidates in the three Hill seats, including Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong and has left it for its “friends.”

Though the issue of Gorkhaland is in the backburner this election, NRC has emerged as a major issue with apprehensi­ons of names being struck off if BJP comes to power in the state and imposes NRC.

Union Home minister Amit Shah during a recent public meeting in Darjeeling had declared that the Gorkhas need not worry about NRC. “Not a single Gorkha will be affected,” he has assured.

However, not many are buying this. Gorkhas from Assam, including members of the All Assam Gorkha Students Union, declared that thousands of Gorkhas have been affected by NRC in Assam with many declared D voters.

KOLKATA: Relying on youth power, Trinamool Congress entrusted young leaders of the party with the task of gauging its prospects in the ensuing state Assembly polls. The young leaders — with whose faces the locals weren't familiar — were sent to various districts before each phase to interact with the ground-level workers, sources said on Friday.

Sources in the TMC said around 50 Yuva leaders were sent to Nandigram before the polls to assess the prospect of TMC. The Yuva leaders had categorise­d the Bengal districts into several segments and based on TMC's performanc­e in the earlier polls and the data submitted by the I-PAC team members regarding each and every constituen­cy based on the positive and negative aspects, the Yuva leaders visited each constituen­cy and assessed the performanc­e of the party.

“Based on the strategies developed by the party's leadership,

Darjeeling district with five Assembly constituen­cies has a total elector strength of 1222190 with 609933 males and 612243 females and 14 third gender electors

they work on the ground,” sources within the party said.

A senior TMC leader said this year even few candidates were selected from the batch of ‘Yuva leaders' so that they feel equal with the other candidates.

For instance, Narottam Biswas, the candidate from Gaighata constituen­cy, is a member of the Yuva clan. He had worked hard for the past two years in his constituen­cy silently to increase the TMC's network.

“Gaighata is a reserved constituen­cy. In my constituen­cy, 45 per cent people belong to the Matua community. Majority of the people came from Bangladesh as the area is near the border district. Although antiincumb­ency wave surfaced during 2019 Lok Sabha polls in this segment, later people lost faith in BJP. They are not convinced with the BJP's promise of Citizenshi­p Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). This has resulted in an additional advantage for TMC,” Biswas said.

 ??  ?? Polling personnel depart for respective stations in Kalimpong
Polling personnel depart for respective stations in Kalimpong

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