Holding out the promise of a separate state of Gorkhaland, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday got another ally in the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), which is set to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and support BJP candidate Jaswant Singh for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal.
Talking to reporters after the release of the party's manifesto in New Delhi, BJP president Rajnath Singh said the BJP had always stood for smaller states, and had during the NDA rule created Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand. "In future, we will work for Gorkhaland and Telangana (in Andhra Pradesh)," he said.
The GJM is spearheading an agitation for what it calls Gorkhaland, a separate state to be formed out of Darjeeling and the foothills of the Himalayas that are now a part of West Bengal.
Singh said Jaswant Singh - the party's leader in the Rajya Sabha - will be its candidate from Darjeeling. With the support of the GJM, Jaswant Singh is expected to win.
Speaking at the same venue, BJP's senior leader LK Advani said the GJM decided to join the NDA after discussions with top Gorkhaland leaders.
GJM president Bimal Gurung and general secretary Roshan Giri have been camping in Delhi for the last two days to hold talks with the BJP leaders.