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GJM to support BJP in SMC polls, Gorkha candidates contesting from Wards 42, 43

Bimal Gurungg
A day after announcing it was mulling over fielding candidates for the Siliguri Municipal Corporation election scheduled on April 25, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on Monday performed a swift volte face saying the party would instead extend unconditional support to the BJP. On Sunday, GJM president Bimal Gurung had said the party would field candidates from at least four wards in Siliguri as they have a sizeable population of Gorkha voters. He also said they were in talks with the BJP brass in Delhi on this matter. However, Gurung today issued a press statement revealing the GJM’s decision to extend support to ally BJP in the SMC election.
“We will ensure victory for the BJP candidates in the SMC election because the NDA is our political partner. We appeal to the Gorkha voters in Siliguri to cast their votes in favour of BJP candidates,” read Gurung’s statement.
The BJP has already announced the names of its candidates for all the 47 wards of the SMC, but it made a revision today deciding to field two Gorkha nominees. Tashi Dorjee Lama will be contesting from Ward 42, while Lalumaya Chhetri has got a BJP ticket from Ward 43, as the two wards have a considerable Gorkha population. “We thank the BJP for respecting our sentiments and fielding Gorkha candidates,” Gurung said.
Sources within the party said the decision to extend unconditional support to the BJP stemmed from the recent “positive” meeting between BJP and GJM leaders in Delhi. “The recent meeting with national BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi was very good and positive. Several issues with regard to the Darjeeling hills were discussed, among which also included the statehood demand,” said one of the sources. Another factor that has prompted the GJM to support the BJP is that no other political party has fielded Gorkha candidates in the SMC polls, he added.(EOIC)

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