The Trinamul Congress is desperate to dent the political hegemony that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has built in the Hills.
Kolkata: With the ruling Trinamul Congress desperate to dent the political hegemony of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in the Hills, the election for the four municipalities in Bengal’s Darjeeling on Sunday is expected to be a tough contest. While the TMC under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee will bank on development, the GJM has made the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland in the Hills as its main campaign plank.
Desperate to register its first electoral win in the Hills, the Trinamul Congress campaigned hard under the leadership of PWD minister Aroop Biswas, who is also the observer of North Bengal. TMC heavyweights like ministers Sashi Panja, Moloy Ghatak and Ms Banerjee’s nephew MP Abhisekh Banerjee have also campaigned for the TMC. “We have created 15 development boards in the Hills and have carved out Kalimpong as a new district and Mirik as a new sub division. We are optimistic that the leaders of the development boards will pay back the state government by voting for the TMC during municipal elections,” a TMC leader in the Hills said. .
The equation in the Hills turned interesting with the Jan Andolan Party (JAP), believed to be close to the TMC, forging an alliance with the Gorka National Liberation Front that had carried out an armed struggle for Gorkhaland in the eighties. JAP, which is likely to emerge as the second strongest local political party, is against both the GJM and TMC brand of politics and is asking people to vote for corruption-free municipalities.
GJM had won uncontested in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong in the 2011 municipal election.
In Mirik, out of the nine wards, the GJM won uncontested in four and won by majority in five others. Raiganj in North Dinajpur district, Domkal in Murshidabad and Pujali in South 24 Parganas are also going for elections.
As per information of the election commission, Darjeeling municipality has 32 wards and voting will be held in 81 booths, Kurseong has 20 wards with voting to be held in 27 booths, Kalimpong has 20 wards with vote in 46 booths while Mirik having nine wards will have votes in 10 booths.
Raiganj has 27 wards, Pujali has 16, while Domkal has 21 wards.