The Trinamul Congress today received a jolt in its effort to form the students' union at Kalimpong College with two Jana Andolan Party candidates, who had yesterday expressed their desire to join the ruling party, affirming their allegiance to the JAP.
Manisha Rai and Pappu Biswakarma, who were among the 12 Jana Andolan Students' Union (Jasu) members of the college union, said they would always remain with the JAP and had no intention to join Trinamul. "If we had the intention of joining Trinamul, we would have first resigned from the JAP. We didn't do so. All 12 of us are united and will remain so in the future as well," said Manisha.
Manisha did not deny that she had signed an affidavit expressing her desire to join Trinamul, but said she had done it under duress. "Binny Sir (Hill Trinamul spokesman Binny Sharma) told us to save his skin. We were only two in the midst of TMC (members). So, I signed," she said.
Asked if Sharma had made the request because he feared being booked for kidnapping, she said: "Maybe yes."
There were allegations that the JAP duo had been kept at secret locations by hill Trinamul leaders.
Sharma said Manisha was being put under tremendous pressure by some JAP members and she was making statements under duress.
With the duo deciding to remain with the JAP, and another Gorkha Janmukti Morcha candidate joining the party today, the Jasu strength in the 22-member students' body has gone up to 13.(TT)