Gorkhas Show They Have No Love Lost For Trinamool

BJP and Gorkha Janmukhti Morcha members celebrating victory in Darjeeling

The Gorkhas of Darjeeling Hills, who have been subjected to untold repression by the West Bengal government under Mamata Banerjee for demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland, seem set to inflict a resounding defeat on the Trinamool Congress.  While the BJP’s Raju Singh Bista has established a firm lead of more than 25,000 votes till now, the party’s candidate for the Assembly bypolls—Neeraj Zimba—is also leading by a substantial margin.
The bypolls have been necessitated by the resignation of the sitting MLA, Amar Rai. Rai, who had won the seat on a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) ticket in 2016, resigned after being nominated as the Trinamool candidate for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat. The Gorkhas, it now appears, did not take kindly to his switchover from the GJM, which had spearheaded the prolonged agitation for Gorkhaland in 2017. This stir had led to the brutal state crackdown on Gorkhas of Darjeeling.
The Trinamool nominated Binay Tamang—who had also double-crossed the GJM chief Bimal Gurung while the 2017 stir was on—as its candidate for the Darjeeling Assembly bypolls. Tamang, after ditching Gurung, was rewarded by Banerjee and made the chief of the semi-autonomous Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA). The Gorkhas appear to have registered their disapproval of Tawang’s betrayal of the Gorkhaland cause as well.
If both the BJP candidates, Bista and Zimba, win the Darjeeling Lok Sabha and Assembly seats, as they look set to, their victories can be interpreted as yet another popular endorsement of the Gorkhaland demand. And, of course, the Gorkhas’ strong disapproval for the Trinamool, which has tried to win them over with many sops and doles, and a large dose of development works.

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While the BJP’s Raju Singh Bista has established a firm lead of more than 25,000 votes till now, the party’s candidate for the Assembly bypolls—Neeraj Zimba—is also leading by a substantial margin.

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