Candidates ready to battle it out in Darjeeling by-election

Candidate for the by-election in the Darjeeling Assembly constituency
On the last day of campaigns for the upcoming by-election in the Darjeeling Assembly constituency, political outfits and their candidates were seen busy trying to woo the people to vote for them through their campaigns today.
Rallies, door-to-door campaigns and public meetings were held by the parties in different parts of the town. People got to witness all the candidates in fray make one last effort to convince people to vote for them.
As a part of their campaign for Bharatiya Janata Party candidate, Niraj Zimba, the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) was seen taking out a rally in the town and party leaders addressed the public at Chowrasta in the end.
However, Mr. Zimba was missing from the rally as he was campaigning at Pul-Bijanbari block where a public meeting was held.
“We have already talked with BJP president, Amit Shah that we want only 6th Schedule or above as it will be a constitutional guarantee for the hills. We decided to support BJP after being assured by him,” said GNLF leader, Maan Ghisingh.
“There are many political parties and senior leaders of the hills here. We wanted to be united and approached them to bring them on one platform in the Parliamentary elections.
However, it is regretful that some of them are not with us and I still appeal them to think about our community as Mr Zimba losing would mean a loss of our community,” he said.
On the other hand, public meetings were held by the Jan Andolan Party in support of their candidate, Amar Lama at Chowk Baazar where the party president, Dr Harka Bahdaur Chettri was also present.
Mr. Lama also campaigned in the Bijanbari afterwards. Speaking to the media after the meeting, Dr. Chettri said, “We have only taken up issues that are related to the Bidhan Sabha as this election is for it. There are issues like parja-patta (land rights) which morcha leader Binoy Tamang is also saying that he would work on. He is with the state government and it would be easier for him to address the matter but if state government asks him to not address the issue and keep it alive till the next elections in 2021 then he will do that as he will have to listen to them.
However, we are independent from the shackles of state government and we will keep pursuing the matter and raise our voices against such issues.
“Chowk Baazar also saw public meetings being held at short intervals by political outfits like the Indian Democratic Republican Front (IDRF) who has fielded Sanjay Thakuri as their candidate.
It was followed by a joint meeting held by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Tamang camp) women’s wing along with the TMC women’s wing.
On the other hand, GJMM candidate, Binoy Tamang, held a door-to-door campaign with his supporters at Lalkothi area, Gandhi road and other areas falling under Sadar 3 block. He also held a ‘puja’ at a Monastery (Gumba) in Gandhi road.
Door-to-door campaigns were also seen being held by an independent candidate, Swaraj Thapa, who campaigned at Haridas Hatta, Shivagram, Lal Dhikki, Hooker road and other places around Darjeeling.
Independent candidate, Sardha Rai Subba was seen campaigning at Harsing, Chidya Kothi area, Gairi Gaon and other places around the town.
“Binay Tamang recently said in his speech that the state government would give Rs 6,000- 12,000 to tea garden workers as a relief for the strike held in 2017 and we feel that it amounts to bribery for votes. This is a violation of the (Election) Model Code of Conduct and we appeal to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to look into the matter. I also want to ask, is this the value for the struggles they made during that time?” alleged Swaraj Thapa in a press conference.
“I’d also like question BJP candidate, Mr Zimba whether he belongs to the BJP or GNLF as the support of GNLF is confusing and voters should not be kept in the dark,” he added maintaining that he was the third option that voters had.
He also appealed that in future elections the EC should have the Nepali language included in postal ballot papers as only Bengali and the English language was present in it.
On the other hand, Sardha Rai Subba said, “I mostly held door-to-door campaigns at villages and rural belts along with the town but could not cover all the Municipality area. After the results are out, I will visit all places.”
She also alleged that she could not hold a public meeting in the town as she did not get permission from the Municipality even though she had applied for one.
Meanwhile, CPI-M candidate, K B Watter was seen campaigning by meeting people along the way at Bijanbari, Chungthung, Lepcha Jagat among other places.
He also held a public meeting at Sukhia Pokhri. Alleging that BJP was trying to create a division through religion and TMC through communities, Mr Watter also appealed to all that the peace which was seen during the campaigning period should remain during the elections on Sunday as well.
He also said that they would work on the different issues they had raised in the elections along with a solution for the hills which would be similar to 6th Schedule or something higher than that, which would be like a state within a state.

https://www.thestatesman.com
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On the last day of campaigns for the upcoming by-election in the Darjeeling Assembly constituency, political outfits and their candidates were seen busy trying to woo the people to vote for them through their campaigns today. Rallies, door-to-door campaigns and public meetings were held by the parties in different parts of the town.

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