The winds of change that resulted in the Left being left out in the State did not have much impact in the three assembly constituencies of the Darjeeling district as the Gorkha Janmkti Morcha (GJM) proved a thumping mandate. So much so that it resulted in the forfeit of the deposits of all the contesting candidates in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong constituencies excepting the 3 winning GJM candidates. The victory margin of the three winning candidates is also the highest in the State.
A candidate has to accrue one-sixth of the total votes polled in the constituency to prevent the forfeiture of the deposit. The deposit amount is Rs. 10,000/- for general candidates and Rs. 5,000/- for Scheduled Tribe and Schedule Caste candidates.
In Darjeeling the total number of votes polled was 153523 (including postal ballot); in Kurseong it was 154449 and in Kalimpong 124875.
All the 3 Left Front candidates, Congress, All India Gorkha League, Gorkha National Liberation Front candidates in the fray along with an independent candidate in Kurseong could not save their deposits.
The GJM hill candidates won by a margin of more than 90,000 votes each, considered the highest margins in the State. Trilok Dewan, GJM candidate from Darjeeling secured 120532 votes defeating his nearest rival Bhim Subba of the GNLF who had secured 13977 votes, a margin of 106555 votes.
Harka Bahadur Chettri, GJM candidate from Kalimpong secured 109,102 votes defeating his nearest rival Prakash Dahal of the GNLF who had secured 7427 votes, a margin of 101675 votes.
Rohit Sharma, GJM candidate from Kurseong secured 114297 votes defeating his nearest rival Pemu Chettri of the GNLF who had secured 21201 votes, a margin of 93096 votes.
This is the first time that the GJM has been contesting an election and has returned a clear mandate. In the last Parliamentary election the GJM had supported BJP candidate Jaswant Singh in the Darjeeling constituency who had landed a whooping victory.
The three seats traditionally belonged to the GNLF. “This is a unique victory. Our rivals have forfeited their deposits. This is a victory for Gorkhaland, the public and the able candidates” stated GJM President Bimal Gurung who feels that change in Bengal was inevitable.
“We feel that the polling process has been unfair and that there could be tampering of the EVMs. Our units claim that in many areas where there is existence of the AIGL, the results show that we have got less than 10 votes. The abnormal margins are also a clear indicator” alleged Mohan Sharma of the AIGL.