The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) discarded the saffron path and declared that it would support the Congress-Trinamool alliance in several seats in the Terai and the Dooars to ensure a Left Front defeat.
Making the announcement in a press briefing in Darjeeling, GJM supremo Bimal Gurung said, "We have not fielded our own candidate or have not supported a party in the Terai and the Dooars. We will support the Congress-Trinamool alliance. The support is unconditional."
The GJM has already fielded sitting MLA Wilson Champramari from Kalchini Assembly constituency; supported BJP candidate Manoj Tigga in Madarihaat and Rajesh Lakra, the Progressive People's Party candidate in Nagrakata constituency in Dooars.
The GJM has declared unconditional support to the Congress-Trinamool alliance in the Assembly constituencies of Matigara-Naxalbari, Siliguri and Pansidewa in the Darjeeling district along with Kumargram, Dabgram-Fulbari, Dhupguri, Mal in the Jalpaiguri district.
The GJM claims that in seats such as Kumargram, there are approximately 16,500 Gorkha voters, in Malbazar there are about 35,000, Dhupguri has 17,000, Dabgram-Fulbari 32000, Matigara-Naxalbari 48,000, Siliguri 12,000 and Phansidewa has around 16,000 Gorkha voters.
"We are an important factor in these constituencies. We want to defeat the Left and as the Congress-Trinamool is the strongest anti-Left force we have decided to side with this alliance," said Gurung hinting why he chose Congress-Trinamool alliance over BJP.
In the 2009 Assembly by-elections in Kalchini in Dooars, GJM-backed Independent candidate Wilson Champramary defeated Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad (ABAVP)-backed Independent candidate by a margin of 6,035 votes. In the 2006 elections, the seat had been won by Manohar Tirkey of the RSP.
The ABAVP, a deciding factor in the Dooars region, had initially announced an alliance with the Congress. However, in later severed ties with the Congress and instead forged an alliance with Kamtapur Progressive Party (KPP), a regional party.
This declaration is definitely an indication of a post-poll alliance between Congress-Trinamool and the GJM (in seats where GJM emerge victorious.) The GJM has fielded party candidates in the three Hill seats along with Kalchini.
Among the Assembly constituencies where GJM enjoys substantial clout among Gorkha voters are Siliguri, Matigara-Naxalbari, Phansidewa in Darjeeling district, Dabgram-Fulbari, Madarihat, Dhupguri, Rajganj, Malbazar, Nagrakata, Kalchini and Kumargram in Jalpaiguri district.
In Siliguri, where CPI(M) candidate and urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya is facing a tough challenge from Trinamool candidate Rudra Narayan Bhattacharya the percentage of Gorkha voters is more than 5%.
At Matigara-Naxalbari, the Congress candidate, Shankar Malakar is smiling as the GJM's decision is all set to polarise more than 35,000 Gorkha voters of total 1,90,000 voters in the constituency in his favour.