TMC’s Darjeeling strategy: Party candidate as per choice of ally BGPM

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Kolkata, Feb 8 (IANS) Desperate to clinch a victory in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency this time, the Trinamool Congress is working out a compromise formula with its ally Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM).

It has been decided that the alliance candidate from Darjeeling who will be a local face chosen by the BGPM leadership will contest on the Trinamool Congress’ ticket.

“Our man will be contesting from the hills but as an official Trinamool Congress candidate. The leadership of the ruling party in the state is more or less agreeable to this formula,” said a BGPM insider on condition of anonymity.

Political observers say that the compromise has been prompted by the recent resurrection of the “son of the hills” sentiment in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, where the people are demanding a Lok Sabha member with roots in the hills.

“This compromise is more logical for the Trinamool Congress considering that BGPM’s organisational strength and public support is much more,” said a city- based political observer.

In fact, keeping the “son of the hills” sentiment in mind, the Congress is already gearing up to project estranged Trinamool Congress leader from the hills Binay Tamang.

Tamang recently joined the grand old party, as the Left Front-supported Congress candidate from Darjeeling.

Even the CPI(M) leadership has no in-principle objection to this proposal of the Congress.

Although the BJP is yet to make its stand clear on this issue, political observers say that considering the “son of the hills” sentiment, the saffron camp might also be prompted to think on similar lines.

The BJP has won from Darjeeling in three-consecutive Lok Sabha elections in 2009, 2014 and 2015 mainly because of the support from the Bimal Gurung-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).

However, the situation is tricky now because GJM’s mass support in the hills has eroded substantially over time.



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