TMC win in Mirik, GJM to head three hills municipalities

DARJEELING
17 May 2017

Even though the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha were able to form their boards in the municipalities of Kurseong, Kalimpong and Darjeeling the TMC made its presence felt in the hills in a big way with them winning the Mirik Municipality board securing 6 wards out of the nine wards there making it the first time that an opposition in the hills have been able to form a board here in the hills.
The TMC was also seen showing its presence in Kurseong where their candidates were seen winning from three wards namely 11, 12, and 15 out of the twenty wards there and in Darjeeling winning from one ward no 31 out of the thirty two wards here. In both the places the rest of the wards were won by the Morcha candidates. At Kalimpong, too the TMC managed to secure two wards which were ward no 9 and ward no 12 with the Jan Andolan Party only managing to secure two wards - wards no 4 and 13. The Morcha managed to secure all the other wards of Kalimpong which has twenty three wards with one of them being an independent candidate from ward no 15 backed by the Morcha.
The TMC (Hills) president Rajen Mukhi said, “The people in Mirik showed that they want development in the hills and that they trust our party. We will fulfill all the promises made by our party. Forming one municipality board out of the four that are there in the hills along with some of our candidates winning from some wards in other places is just the beginning and we thank the people for showing their support towards our party.”
At Mirik the TMC was able to secure wards 2, 3,5,7,8 and 9 with the rest of the three won by the Morcha there. At Mirik there was celebration among the TMC supporters with them bursting fire crackers and also taking out a small rally with the victory celebration to be held in another day. Observers believe that the main reason for the TMC getting support there were the two factors of Mirik recently being made a subdivision and the Bengal chief minister promising to solve the demand of the people there of giving them parza patta.
On the other hand the TMC candidate from ward no 31 at Darjeeling who was the only winner here Chung Chung Bhutia said, “The youths of my area supported me a lot which is the main reason I won. I know it will be difficult for me to work for my area being the only candidate of the TMC winning in Darjeeling but I will do whatever I can with my first focus being working for the youths.”
Bhutia won by 34 votes be securing 753 votes with the Morcha coming in second by securing 719 votes.
The Morcha supporters were also a jubilant lot with firecrackers seen being burst by them and all of them going to meet their party chief at Gorkha Ranga Manch with a rally cheering their candidate.
The Morcha president Bimal Gurung said, “The victory in the three municipalities is the victory of the people and their reply to Bengal’s conspiracy among our people. As for Mirik there might be something wrong there in the counting and we have asked the district administration to look into the matter so that recounting can be done there.”
Reacting to that Mukhia was found maintaining that the Morcha should not act like sore losers and added, “Winning and losing is part of the elections and how can the Morcha demand recounting in Mirik so does that mean that in the places we lost we will also demand recounting?”
The surprise in this election was however the JAP which was considered a favorite in Kalimpong only managing to win from two wards there even after they had contested from all the wards there.
The JAP president Harka Bahadur Chettri said, “I would like to congratulate the Morcha as they won by fighting the elections so I have nothing to say on that. Being a party of just about two and half years old we did not have the election machinery and this is the result of that. The Morcha should also keep in mind that the JAP has come in second in most of the wards in Kalimpong along with our total difference with them being only about 3,000 votes. If one is to see the whole picture than half of the people have rejected them as the total votes of the opposition along with the independent is about 13,000 while they have secured a total vote of only about 10,000 plus.”
“However, we do not have the feeling of hopelessness as the JAP was not formed looking at the Municipality elections only but keeping in mind the Morcha not working properly and them not being able to reach the demand of statehood. Whatever the results we have come out for a long term and better politics for which struggle is required which we will continue to do so and keep on existing,” said Chettri who also added that the two candidates that have won will keep a check on the Morcha run municipality there.
The GNLF which was the alliance of the TMC also could not manage to win a single seat in all the four municipalities including the CPM and independent candidates which had contested in some of the wards.
It can also be mentioned here that none of the heavyweight candidates of the TMC (Hills) were able to win which includes senior leaders of the TMC like N.B. Khawas, Shanta Chettri, Sarda Rai Subba and Milan Dukpa.
With the winning candidates also handed over their certificates the projected chairman according to source are the Morcha candidate D.K. Pradhan in Darjeeling, Suva Pradhan in Kalimpong with the projected chairman yet to be fixed in Kurseong. At Mirik the TMC projected chairman according to source is L.B. Rai.
Though no untoward incident was reported anywhere in Kurseong two Morcha supporters have been injured in a party clash and have been admitted to the hospital there. According to the Morcha in ward no 19 there at Dhokan Dara one lady Neetu Tamang was allegedly beaten by TMC supporters maintaining that she joining the Morcha from the GNLF recently caused the TMC to lose there. The Morcha also claimed that in ward no 20 at Chandmari area there when a rally of the Morcha was returning from there stones were pelted by TMC supporters due to one Morcha supporter Sushila Pradhan was injured. The Morcha have also filed FIRS for this case against the TMC. (EOIC)