- Demand for majority seats in rural polls
Siliguri, Aug. 19: Plains tribal leader John Barla today proposed an alliance with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the Dooars and Terai for the coming panchayat polls and expressed its wish to contest the majority of seats.
Barla’s group has decided to contest under the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha symbol and the decision to be in a tie-up with the hill party was announced by the tribal leader after a meeting with his colleagues at Birpara today.
“The JMM has decided to tie up with the Morcha and field our own candidates in the ensuing polls to all three tiers of the panchayat system in the Dooars and Terai. We intend to carry out extensive development work under the panchayat system and meet some of the basic demands of the tribal and Gorkha people in the two areas. We will ask the Morcha to allot most of the seats in all three tiers (panchayat, panchayat samiti and zilla parishad) to the JMM,” said Barla.
Barla will discuss the matter with the Morcha in Darjeeling tomorrow. He will receive the Sadbhawana Award from the Janmukti Asthayi Karmachari Sangathan, an affiliate of the Morcha, tomorrow for strengthening ties between the adivasis and the Gorkhas.
“We will talk to senior Morcha leaders and apprise them of our proposal for a joint contest. We hope if candidates are fielded jointly by the JMM and the Morcha, they can draw the maximum number of votes from the adivasis and the Gorkhas,” said Barla.
JMM leaders hope the party can pacify its supporters who felt let down by the government’s decision to bring only five of the 396 mouzas demanded by the Morcha under the GTA if it can contest in the maximum number of seats in the panchayat polls.
“The Morcha has successfully formed the GTA and has set in motion the launch of many development plans in the hills. This has built pressure on our part as our supporters, who fought shoulder to shoulder with the Morcha for the inclusion of more mouzas in the GTA, have got nothing in return. That is why we want to field as many as adivasis in the polls,” said a JMM leader.