DEEP MILAN PRADHAN, MIRIK, 11 Mar 2014: Following the decision of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leadership to support a BJP candidate in the general election, the party’s Mirik sub-divisional committee today conducted a meeting to discuss future strategies in ensuring a win for the candidate from Darjeeling.
The meeting was attended by GJM central committee member LB Rai, committee president Phubi Rai and vice-president Arun Ghising, who claimed the GJM has supported the BJP to take ahead the statehood demand.
Hill netas get adept at ‘tea statecraft’
Kurseong, 11 March: With its rich golden liquor, the delicate fragrance and the muscatel and spicy sweet flavours, Darjeeling tea is prized over many other tea varieties across the globe. While it has managed to win many a hearts of common people and connoisseurs alike and is proven that it has various health benefits, the ‘champagne of teas’ is now being used to win over politicians’ hearts and build a camaraderie between the country’s big netas and their counterparts in the Hills.
Especially, the leadership in Darjeeling Hills is using the region’s crème de la crème to strike a memorable relationship with the central leaders across political lines. Most often than not, the Hill leaders are seen carrying with them packets of the best Darjeeling tea with them, to be gifted to the central leaders, as they meet for political powwows.“Wherever one may go and whenever one talks of Darjeeling and its tea, people recognize it in an instant and it helps create a different impression on people’s minds,” says a leader in Kurseong.
According to him, this could be the reason Hill leaders utilise the brand to make friendship and win favours from national leaders. A case in point is the recent visit of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) leaders to New Delhi, where its chief, Bimal Gurung, gifted packets of tea to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh and other senior BJP leaders.
The traditional khadas (white cloth garland) too come handy when showing respect to the central leaders. Mr Gurung and his three-member team were also seen garlanding the BJP leaders with the khadas.
People in the know in the Darjeeling Hills confirm this tradition.
“The whole idea is to impress the central leadership, while talking with them and putting forth the concerns before the leaders there is easy after the khadas and the tea packets create a different, warmhearted, ambience,” says another Hill leader. According to the leader, these two items have also become a part and parcel of the protocol in the Hills whenever senior leaders visit the region.
The manager of the Makaibari Tea Estate near Kurseong, Debabrata Majumdar, said he is happy that the leaders are using Darjeeling tea as a means to spread bonhomie and friendship.“Not only tea from our garden, but the leaders using tea from any of the gardens in Darjeeling is certainly a good thing for us,” he said, adding that the Hill leaders’ act will go a long way in promoting the highly regarded produce of the Hills.
After the hectic and all important parleys in New Delhi, the GJMM team yesterday said it has decided to throw its weight behind the BJP candidate in the three constituencies of Darjeeling, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri, putting to rest speculations and the suspense over whether the state’s ruling party, Trinamul Congress, would finally get the crucial GJMM support.
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