BJP lacks influence on ground zero: GJM leader Bimal Gurung as voting underway
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s (GJM) founder-president Bimal Gurung on Saturday asserted that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lacks influence on ground zero in West Bengal and will fail to form the government in the state. "They (BJP) don't have people's support in Bengal. They don't have much influence on ground zero. How can they form the government?" Gurung was quoted as saying by news agency ANI as polling was underway in the state.
"Politics is not possible through violence, vandalism and shooting. Politics should be simple," Gurung, whose party GJM broke its alliance with the BJP and got together with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), also said. "I supported the BJP for 15 years but what did it do for my community? [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi had assured us and made a commitment, it has been 6.5-7 years now but it is yet to be completed," the Gorkha leader also said.
The GJM has influence in around 15 assembly seats in Darjeeling hills, the Terai and Dooars regions in the foothills and plains. As an ally of the BJP, Gurung helped the state’s principal opposition force win the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in 2009, 2014 and 2019.
Voting is underway in Darjeeling during the fifth phase of the West Bengal Assembly Election 2021 on Saturday. Along with Darjeeling, voting in 44 other seats is also underway with 319 candidates in the fray. The next round of voting will be held on April 22 and the counting of the votes will be done on May 6.
Polling is being held amid a nationwide surge in the cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) even as the Election Commission of India decided to limit the time of campaigning for the remaining three phases and extended the silence period to 72 hours for each of the phases. It is being also held amid tightened security as 1071 companies of central forces have been deployed to ensure a peaceful election. During the last phase of voting, two incidents of firing were reported in which at least five people were killed.