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Hill municipalities elections might skip polls

india Updated: Nov 14, 2011 19:00 IST
Amitava Banerjee

There could be no need for polls during the forthcoming Municipal elections in the Darjeeling Hills. With the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) having contested in all the seats in the 4 hill municipalities; with other political outfits deciding not to join in the fray and no independent candidates yet, the GJM could emerge victorious, uncontested.

All major political outfits in the Hills including the CPIM, Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM,) All India Gorkha League (AIGL) and the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) have decided not to take part in this political exercise.

“We had initiated a political exercise of unifying opposition parties and fielding consensus candidates. However this exercise failed with the CPRM, AIGL deciding not to contest. The Congress party is still awaiting instructions from the party high command. The Government has failed to provide security to the opposition voters and candidates. There are threat perceptions. Hence we have decided not to contest” stated KB Wattar, District Secretariat member, CPIM.

“The State Assembly elections a few months ago are a clear indicator of things to emerge post Municipal polls. Despite assurances of security, post poll violence erupted throughout the hills with houses and property of opposition party supporters being vandalized, torched after the Assembly elections.

More than 10% of opposition party supporters had to flee the hills and are residing in the plains. The present State Government does not acknowledge hill opposition parties and does not want to meet them even. Under these circumstances we will not contest elections, as free fair elections is a mere farce in the Hills” stated Luxman Pradhan, General Secretary, AIGL.

The GNLF in a press release have also announced their decision to stay away from both Municipal and Panchayat elections.

The GJM meanwhile has filed nominations for all 32 seats in Darjeeling; all 23 seats in Kalimpong; all 20 seats in Kurseong and all 9 seats in Mirik. November 15 is the last date of filing nominations and November 18 is the last date of withdrawal.

“Till Monday only GJM candidates had filed nominations. If no other candidates file nominations; there are no withdrawals and the GJM candidates get through the scrutiny then there will be no need for polls. In such a case, we will send a report to the Election Commission and based on the notification from the EC we will hand out the certificates to the candidates.” stated Chewang Palzor, District Election Officer.

Polls are slated for the December 11, 2011.