Nomination filing in full swing across hills
The TMC and the GNLF may have entered into a seat sharing agreement for next month's municipality election, but the latter appears to be have secured a smaller share. Meanwhile, the Jan Andolan Party, which is expected to give stiff competition, will only be fielding some candidates in three of the hill municipalities apart from Kalimpong where there are candidates for all wards.
In the 2011 civic polls, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha won from all the four municipalities and remained uncontested in three municipalities except Mirik where there was a strong fight with independent candidates. This time though, the GJM will have to face stiff competition from the TMC-GNLF alliance and the JAP, particularly in Kalimpong.
According to local TMC leaders, they have left two wards for the GNLF in Mirik which are wards 1 and 6. In Kalimpong the TMC will leave four wards, 4,5,10 and 9 for the GNLF. Mirik has a total of 9 wards and Kalimpong 23. The TMC has however, kept quiet on the number of seats they would leave for the GNLF in Darjeeling and Kurseong.
“We have already announced 15 candidates for Darjeeling and will be announcing some more. We are still negotiating with the GNLF regarding the wards to be left for their candidates,” said hill TMC working president N.B. Khawas.
Darjeeling has a total of 32 wards and TMC sources have said the GNLF would field candidates in 12 wards which include ward 2,4,5,6,7,8,9,11,25,26,28 and 30.
A GNLF leader from Darjeeling said, “We will be announcing our candidates and their wards on Saturday after which everything will be clear.”
In Kurseong, the TMC is yet to clarify the seat sharing status with the party yet to announce the names.
Sources said there could be a possibility of both the TMC and the GNLF fielding candidates from the same wards. Both political outfits have decided to reveal their respective candidates during nomination filing on Saturday.
JAP bureau member Amar Lama said, “We will be filing eight to 10 candidates from Darjeeling and a similar number from Kurseong. As for Mirik, we will have six to seven candidates. In the three municipalities we will also be supporting independent candidates in some wards where we have not fielded anyone. In Kalimpong we will contest from all the 23 wards.”
With the last date of filing nominations being April 24, filing continued through today with three GJM candidates in Kurseong. In Kalimpong, there were 13 TMC candidates and five from the GJM. In Darjeeling 15 TMC candidates, five JAP candidates, three independents and a few GJM contestants filed their nominations today. (EOIC)