Siliguri, 17 February: The independent candidate for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency, Dr Mahendra P Lama, today expressed hope that the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) will support him in his poll bid. GJMM leaders, however, said their party is yet to take a call on the matter.
“I am hopeful that the GJMM will throw its weight behind me during the upcoming parliamentary elections. However, I have not received a response from them as yet,” Dr Lama told a press meet here. He added that he has written to several political parties seeking their support in the polls.
“We sent letters to the Trinamul Congress, Congress, CPI-M, GJMM, BJP, CPRM and GNLF on 1 January. Some parties have responded and told that they would let us know,” the noted academic and the former Sikkim University Vice-Chancellor said.
Interestingly, GJMM think-tank P Arjun, who was also present in the news conference when Dr Lama spoke, said he too was hopeful that his party chief, Mr Bimal Gurung, would lend his support to Dr Lama.
“I have been in a non-political relationship with Dr Lama for a long time. He represents all the communities, he is the only face who has a vision and the potentials to become the Prime Minister. I am with the GJMM, but as an individual, I support Dr Lama for his thoughts and hunger for the development of the region, ” Mr Arjun said.
The GJMM general secretary, Mr Roshan Giri, said his party has yet to discuss the matter.
On a separate state that he demands for the people of the Darjeeling Hills and the Dooars, Dr Lama said his concept of such a state will not have ethnic identity as its fulcrum. “It will be an inclusive one, taking all, irrespective of the ethnicity, on board. We want the separate state for our development and our demands stand on the geography, not on ethnicity and language,” he said.
He added that he will also demand inclusion of the Darjeeling Hills and the Dooars in the North East Council. Dr Lama said, if elected, he would lay emphasis on trade with neighbouring countries. “We share four international borders and I will stress on massive trade with those countries,” he said.
According to him, he will further demand introduction of the three-tier panchayati system in the Darjeeling Hills. These issues, including some development projects on health, education and commerce will be in my election agenda,” he said.
As part of his election campaign, Dr Lama said 95 rallies were held in different parts of Darjeeling and the Dooars under the banner of the Darjeeling Dooars United Development Foundation (DDUDF) since the inception of the DDUDF in October last. Dr Lama is scheduled to address a rally in Siliguri tomorrow.
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