Darjeeling, 8 Mar 2014: Still playing the Lok Sabha election card close to its chest, a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha delegation led by chief Bimal Gurung today rushed to Delhi to meet senior UPA and NDA leaders.
The GJM is yet to announce its candidate for this year’s election although it has laid to rest all speculation of a tie-up with the Trinamool Congress. Interestingly, neither the Congress nor the BJP have named their candidates to the Darjeeling parliamentary constituency seat either.
Gurung however, did say he would be meeting national leaders and parties in Delhi over the election issue.
“I am leaving for Delhi to talk to all national parties and their leaders. The agenda will be the Lok Sabha polls,” the GJM chief said on a social network site.
Accompanying Gurung is party assistant secretary Binay Tamang and central committee leaders Raju Pradhan and Anit Thapa.
The GJM president did not forget to reiterate that the Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri seats would be vital for national parties eyeing the North Bengal region.
“The GJM’s support in those two seats will be vital for any party to make inroads there. This has been proved during the 2011 assembly election,” noted Gurung.
With the GJM’s support, independent candidate Wilson Champramari had won from the Kalchini assembly seat, while Joseph Munda of the Congress had triumphed from Nagarkatta.
Political observers have pointed out the importance of the Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri parliamentary seats given the sizeable Nepali population in those constituencies.
They said if national-level party ties up with the GJM in those regions, the outcome would be favourable.
“The 2011 assembly election proved the importance and benefit of allying with the GJM and the same cannot be ruled out for the LS polls. It will be prudent for any
national party to tie up with the Morcha for the Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri seats. For the GJM, it will be an opportunity to bargain from a stronger position,” some of the observers opined.
When contacted, Pradhan said over phone from Delhi, “We have just arrived. We are chalking out schedules and trying to get appointments with various national leaders.
The LS election will definitely be the primary agenda in our talks.”
Although the GJM had kept its decision under wraps, party sources have said it would make sense to forge an alliance with the BJP. Firstly, the saffron front had included the Gorkhaland demand in its 2009 election manifesto, and secondly, there is every possibility of the party staging a comeback, they maintained. Another factor is the unwillingness of the GJM to join hands with TMC and the Congress, with the latter still to name its candidate from Darjeeling.
The GJM had supported BJP candidate Jaswant Singh in the 2009 LS election and he had won by a whopping margin of 2,53,289 votes.
GJMM rules out support to Baichung, Gurung on Delhi trip
statesman news service: SILIGURI, 8 MARCH:Paying no heed to Baichung Bhutia, Trinamul Congress candidate for Darjeeling LS seat, GJMM has decided to extend support to a political party other than the Trinamul, keeping an eye on its demand for separate statehood.
A four member delegation led by Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) president Bimal Gurung today left for Delhi with a view to interacting with senior leaders in national politics to formulate the party’s strategy over the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat and other seats in Jalpaiguri.
Though the GJMM leaders were tightlipped at Bagdogra Airport today and described their Delhi visit as a ‘political trip’, the GJMM chief Mr Gurung in his official Facebook page said: “I am leaving for Delhi to talk to leaders of all national parties on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.”
In the post Mr Gurung also mentioned: “GJMM’s support would be a deciding factor not only in Darjeeling but also for Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar Lok Sabha seats.”
Notably, the GJMM president had come out strongly against the idea after Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee announced that former Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia would contest from Darjeeling LS seat as her party candidate.
The GJMM had made it clear it was in no mood to extend support to the Trinamul Congress candidate for Darjeeling LS seat, though Mr Bhutia told reporters he ‘personally’ had decided to seek support from GJMM.
Three party leaders, Mr Binay Tamang, Mr Anit Thapa and Mr Raju Pradhan accompanied the GJMM chief on the Delhi trip.
Asked to comment on whether the GJMM would respond to Baichung Bhutia when he seeks support from Bimal Gurung individually, Mr Tamang said: “His statement was Trinamul Congress’s version.”
Mr Tamang said: “It is a political trip. We will not disclose about the agenda of our trip. Our political strategy would be formulated after meeting with political leaders in Delhi. ”
GJMM leaders refused to comment whether they would meet BJP leaders in Delhi extending support to them for Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat keeping an eye on longstanding demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
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