In Darjeeling, GJM’s Binoy Tamang faction fields 3 candidates for Bengal polls
The Binoy Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), a strong party in the Darjeeling hills and an ally of Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), on Sunday named its candidates for the Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong seats for the assembly election.
Polls in this region will be held in the fifth phase on April 17.
The Tamang faction, which also released its election manifesto, fielded Keshav Raj Pokhrel (35) from Darjeeling, Tshering Dahal (56) from Kurseong and Ruden Sada Lepcha (51) from Kalimpong.
The Tamang faction has announced that it will carry out its campaign jointly with the TMC.
The GJM’s other faction led by the party’s founder Bimal Gurung is also an ally of the TMC. It will name its candidates on Tuesday.
TMC chief Mamata Banerjee left out these three hill region seats while announcing 291 candidates for the state’s 294 seats. She said these seats would be left for “friendly parties” and the winners would support the TMC in future.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally, the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), are likely to name their candidates for these seats in a day or two.
Filing of nomination will begin on Tuesday.
The undivided GJM had won the three seats in 2016. The party got divided after the violent Gorkhaland movement in 2017 when Gurung and his men went underground. Gurung resurfaced in Kolkata in October last year and announced that he was severing his ties with the BJP.
With Gurung’s support, the BJP won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat thrice since 2009 and even wrested the Darjeeling assembly seat in the 2019 by-poll, defeating Tamang by more than 46,000 votes.
Before the Lok Sabha poll in 2019, the BJP promised to find a permanent political solution to the long-standing demand for Gorkhaland and accord schedule tribe status to 11 Gorkha sub-communities.
The Gorkhas have been fighting for a separate state since the 1980s. Eleven people were killed in police firing during the agitation in 2017 when the Darjeeling and Kalimpong hills witnessed a 104-day general strike. A police officer was also gunned down.