GJM win Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong municipal elections | india | Hindustan Times
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GJM win Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong municipal elections

While Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong municipalities were won by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) candidates without any contest, polls slated for the December 11 will decide the fate of five out of nine wards of the Mirik Municipality.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2011 20:36 IST
Amitava Banerjee

While Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong municipalities were won by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) candidates without any contest, polls slated for the December 11 will decide the fate of five out of nine wards of the Mirik Municipality.

“3pm on November 18 was the last date of withdrawal of nomination. As there were only single candidates for all the wards of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong along with 4 wards of Mirik. After handing over symbols (rising sun) and preparing form seven (List of contesting candidates,) these candidates were declared victorious” stated Chewang Palzor, District Election Officer.

The GJM had contested all 32 seats in Darjeeling, all 23 seats in Kalimpong, all 20 seats in Kurseong and all nine seats in Mirik. In Kalimpong an independent candidate (Ward number four) had joined in the fray. The candidate however withdrew his nomination on November 16 leaving only one GJM candidate in each of the 23 wards.

In Mirik however the scenario was different. Eight independent candidates filed nominations in six out of nine wards, brushing shoulders with the nine official GJM candidates in Mirik. Majority of the independent candidates are believed to owe allegiance to the GJM.

The GJM then tried to coax the rebels into withdrawing and even issued threats of expulsion. Finally Nima Singh Tamang withdrew from Ward 6; Sunil Bomzan from Ward 7 and Saraswati Tamang from Ward 3.

However Pemba Tshering Tamang from Ward 2; Vijay Tamang from Ward 6; Roshan Tamang from Ward 7; Mrs Krishna Sarki from Ward 8 and Vijay Tamang from Ward 9 decided to contest as independents.

“We have expelled Vijay Tamang of Ward 7; Roshan Tamang and Mrs Krishna Sarki from the party. The other two independent candidates do not owe allegiance to the GJM” stated GJM general secretary Roshan Giri.

“The certificates of election were handed over to the winning candidates in Darjeeling, Kurseong and the uncontested candidates in Mirik on Friday. For Kalimpong it will be handed over on Saturday” stated Palzor.

“Only after the notification of election after December 13 (the day of counting for the Mirik polls) will the Government invite the formation of Municipal boards in the 4 Hill Municipalities” added the District Election Officer.

“We will be taking our victory rallies in the Hills on Saturday” stated Giri. The last Municipal election in the Hills had been held in 2004.

With the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) managing to seize power by driving out the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) leaders and supporters from the Hills in mid 2008, the GNLF Municipal Councillors had defected to the GJM. The GJM agitating for a separate state had put a halt to elections to the Municipalities and Panchayats.

However with the signing of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) agreement followed by the passing of the GTA 2011 Bill in the West Bengal Assembly on September 2, GJM leaders including President Bimal Gurung have opined that number of development activities specially under the Municipalities have been hampered and had demanded immediate elections to the Hill civic bodies.