JAP/TMC relation sours ahead of municipality election

Binny sharma - Harka Bahadur Chettri
Relations between the Jan Andolan Party and the hill Trinamool Congress seem to have taken a slide ahead of the municipality election,  with JAP president Harka Bhadur Chhetri today saying his party would fight the polls alone. He said the loose alliance the JAP  had forged with other political parties in the state Assembly election earlier this year was one of the main reasons of conceding  the Kalimpong seat.
Chhetri said so today at the Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan Hall where an indoor meeting of his party was held to discuss ways to further strengthen the JAP in the hills. The JAP president also said relations with
Mamata Banerjee would remain cordial as apart from being a political leader, she was also the chief minister of the state.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Chhetri said, “There had been talks of an alliance between the JAP and the hill TMC when the chief minister was last here, but it seems they (hill TMC) do not listen to their leaders and have decided to field their own candidates in the municipality election. Hence, we will also be fielding our own candidates in all the three divisions of Darjeeling.”
When Banerjee last visited Darjeeling on July 13, Chhetri had met her and said she had told him there should be an alliance of the TMC, JAP and GNLF in the municipality election as was the case in the Vidhan Sabha election.
“In the MLA elections, those who said they would support us did the exact opposite and instead spread false propaganda against us due to which we lost. If there had been no alliance, we would have won the  the Kalimpong seat,” said Chhetri.
When asked if the JAP was considering pairing up with the GNLF, he said, “We will fight this election without the support of anyone. But if anyone wants to support us they are welcome. Moreover, there were many who claimed the votes I got were not meant for the JAP, and if we fight it alone this time, it will be clear as to which party the people support.”
Chettri also said his relationship was with the Bengal chief minister and not the TMC and he would try and meet her when she comes to Kalimpong on Wednesday.
When pointed out that the JAP had a support base only in Kalimpong , Chhetri said, “We still enjoy good support in Kalimpong but no one can predict election outcomes.
 And as for the other municipalities in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik, there is the factor of anti-Morcha votes. People against the GJM and they are just waiting for an alternative.”
The JAP president also said they have already started ground work to strengthen the party in other places of the hills and in the coming days they will hold public meetings and other programmes.
Meanwhile, hill TMC spokesperson Binny Sharma said, “We have only said our party will contest the municipality election; we have never talked of an alliance or fighting it alone.
It is for our high command to decide on that matter." (EOIC)

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