Lama may come across as strong contender for Ahluwalia
Statesman news service
Darjeeling, 21 March: The Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM) has decided to support the independent and local candidature of Mahendra P Lama, who will be contesting the polls in the Darjeeling parliamentary constituency under the banner of the Darjeeling Dooars United Development Forum (DDUDF).
Such a decision by the CPRM, arguably the second largest party in the Hills, has made the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha-backed BJP candidate SS Ahluwalia’s win in the election difficult, according to political observers.
The say Mr Lama is likely to give a tough fight to Mr Ahluwalia when polling will be done on 17 April.
Notably, two days ago, Mr Lama had rejected the GJMM idea of him supporting Ahluwalia’s candidature.
Explaining as to why the party did not support the BJP candidate, the general secretary of the CPRM, Tara Mani Rai, said: “In the meeting held yesterday with SS Ahluwalia, he told us that the BJP cannot mention Gorkhaland in their election manifesto, so we have decided to support Mahendra P Lama instead.”
The CPRM decision followed a meeting between the party and Mr Lama at the party office here today “After Mahendra P Lama is elected MP, a steering committee will be formed, wherein the CPRM will be a member. This committee will decide what Darjeeling issues should be raised in parliament and when,” general secretary Mr Rai said.
Meanwhile, independent candidate Mr Lama is learnt to have appealed to GNLF supremo Subash Ghising to support his candidature.
Meanwhile, CPI-M candidate for the Darjeeling seat Saman Pathak today filed his nomination for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.Soon after the CPRM finalised its decision to support Mr Lama, Mr Pathak, along with other leaders of his party, came to meet CPRM leaders, apparently to support the CPI-M in the election.
Lama bags CPRM support
Darjeeling, March 21: The CPRM today said it would support Mahendra P. Lama for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat, a day after BJP nominee S.S. Ahluwalia had approached the hill party for alliance.
Today, CPRM leaders announced their decision at a press conference along with Lama, while the CPM candidate for the seat, Saman Pathak, was waiting with a letter seeking the party’s support.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-backed BJP nominee, Ahluwalia, had met the CPRM leaders here yesterday seeking support in an attempt to ensure that the hill votes were not divided. The CPRM leaders had said they would announce their decision on March 23.
“We had three options. One was to support a national party that clearly mentions the word Gorkhaland in its manifesto, second was to support a son of the soil who is committed to the statehood cause and the third was to field our own candidate,” said CPRM general secretary Taramani Rai. “During the meeting with Shri S.S. Ahluwaliaji, it became clear that the BJP would not use the word ‘Gorkhaland’ in its national poll manifesto. That is why we have decided not to support the BJP,” said Rai.
In 2009, the BJP had used words like, “long pending demands of the Gorkhas” would be “sympathetically” considered. This year, too, the party is expected to use similar words.
“We have decided to support Mahendra P. Lama because he has agreed to raise the issue of Gorkhaland in Parliament and if it goes unheard, he has agreed to intensify the statehood demand,” said Rai.
The CPRM is known to have a considerable support.
Lama, an Independent, said he had appealed to the Morcha and GNLF president Subash Ghisingh to support him. “We are not supporting the BJP because the earlier MP Jaswant Singh did not raise the (statehood) issue when Telangana was formed. It is time that the Morcha president also rethinks his decision of supporting the BJP.”
While the press conference was on, CPM leaders Saman Pathak, Ashok Bhattacharya, Jibesh Sarkar and others were waiting to meet the CPRM leaders. Asked about the visit, Pathak merely said: “This is just a courtesy visit.” But Bhattacharya said: “We had also come to seek his (Rai’s) blessing along with an approach letter.”
Rai was heard saying that Pathak was like a relative. “He does not need our support. His party has a lot of supporters.”
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