State BJP in dilemma as Gurung demands support for Gorkhaland after SMC poll

Bimal Gurung in Siliguri
The dilemma of BJP on the issue of extending support to the Gorkhaland issue in lieu of help from Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation election came out in the open on Wednesday as BJP Darjeeling district president Rathindra Bose and GJM president Bimal Gurung had a difference of opinion at a meeting in Siliguri on Wednesday. While Gurung made it clear that GJM’s support to BJP was a conditional one, subject to BJP helping GJM in the statehood demand, Bose was opposed to a division of Bengal.
According to a HS report, the meeting between district BJP officials and their ally GJM was held at Savin Kingdom, located at Dagapur, in the city. Addressing BJP delegates, Gurung said: “The GJM has held the hands of BJP since 2009, and it will support the party in the upcoming elections too. If the BJP wins the poll, then they should also assist us in our ongoing statehood demand. Formation of Gorkhaland was, and will always be the apex demand of the people of Darjeeling. We shall not waver from it.” He urged all the Gorkhas living in Siliguri to vote for BJP and help them win the seat in the civic poll But Bose, in his addressed, differed with Gurung on the Gorkhaland issue. “We aim for a developing Bengal, not a fragmented Bengal. Hence, division of state is not acceptable.” Gurung, in his response, made it clear that GJM was not pinning its hope on any quarter in West Bengal in attaining Gorkhaland. “We do not bother about what the state government has to say about the Gorkhaland issue. We are rather keen on winning a nod from the Centre,” he said.
Analysts said it would be difficult for state-level leaders of BJP to accept the Gorkhaland demand when BJP was aiming not only at doing well in the civic polls in West Bengal but also in capturing power in the state in the assembly election in 2016. For, extension of support on Gorkhaland issue would boomerang on BJP in the plains of Bengal and would be suicidal for the party in its effort to form the next government.
BJP M.P. from Darjeeling S.S. Ahluwalia was also present at the meeting. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, too, GJM had raised the issue of Gorkhaland while extending support to him, but the perspectives would be different in the assembly polls, the analysts pointed out. Even in 2014, BJP had soft-pedalled the Gorkhaland issue in its poll campaigns. (EOIC With HS report)

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