Millennium Post (Kolkata)

‘GJM, HP & CPRM all set to part ways with saffron brigade’


Hill regional parties, including the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), Hamro Party (HP), Communist Party of Revolution­ary Marxist (CPRM), who had supported BJP in the previous elections are all set to part ways with the saffron brigade. Though not willing to go with the TMC, a third front is in the offing in the Hills. The Hill is a divided house in this Lok Sabha election.

The day Raju Bista arrived in Siliguri from Delhi, after being declared the BJP candidate, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) office in Darjeeling was a beeline of activities. Bishnu Prasad Sharma, BJP MLA from Kurseong met GJM president Bimal Gurung. In a separate meeting, HP president Ajoy Edwards also

met Gurung. Sharma has threatened to contest the Lok Sabha elections if the BJP failed to field a “Bhumiputra” (son or daughter of the soil). With Raju Bista’s roots in Manipur, Sharma has decided to stick to his announceme­nt.

“I will fight for a separate state. Thrice we voted for candidates from outside. They did nothing but put a lid on our aspiration­s. BJP did not lis

ten to us, for the fourth time they have fielded a candidate from outside. I will contest as an Independen­t. It is the party’s discretion what steps they take. I will remain steadfast on my decision,” declared Sharma. When questioned on his meeting with Gurung, Sharma stated that it was a courtesy call to discuss the present political situation.

Ajoy Edwards after meeting Gurung made it clear that the HP was not going with BJP anymore. “Why will we vote for BJP? What have they done for us in the last 15 years? Don’t Gorkhas have any self respect? In Ladakh too they have been promising the people of Ladakh many things for the past 10 years during elections, but nothing has translated into action. As TMC is against a separate state, a third front is what we need. We will soon announce our stand,” stated Edwards. Insiders state that Edwards would be holding talks with the Congress in Delhi. Congress is yet to announce a candidate for the Darjeeling Constituen­cy.

An all-party meeting of pro-Gorkhaland regional forces will take place in Darjeeling on March 28 to decide on the way forward. On March 29, the Gorkha

Janmukti Morcha will meet in Malidhura on the outskirts of Darjeeling to finalise their stand. Earlier they had announced that Bimal Gurung would be contesting as a GJM candidate. Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantr­ik Morcha, the party in power in the Hills has extended support to the TMC.

In 2019, Bista backed by Hill regional parties, had won from the Darjeeling Constituen­cy with 408109 votes, the highest victory margin in Bengal, defeating Amar Singh Rai, supported by TMC in the fray. Raju Bista after returning from Delhi stated that he is in touch with alliance parties in the Hills. Regarding Sharma’s stance, Bista remarked: “The Bhumiputra thing is just an excuse. BP Sharma wants to contest Lok Sabha elections. It’s just that.”

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