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GJM chief Bimal Gurung might contest as Independent nominee from Darjeeling

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Shillong, March 11: The ‘son of the hills’ theory, which has been the talking point in the hills of Darjeeling, Kurseong, and Kalimpong in North Bengal for quite some time now, gained further momentum after the Trinamool Congress fielded former bureaucrat Gopal Lama, a local face, from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency.

On Monday, less than a day after Lama’s name was announced as the party candidate, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) hinted that there is a high possibility of GJM supremo Bimal Gurung contesting as an Independent candidate from the same constituency.

According to Nemon Rai, a youth leader of GJM, only a prominent local face can work for the real development of the people of the hills.

“Who else but Bimal Gurung, who has been fighting for a separate Gorkhaland state for years, is more eligible for that position? That’s why we want him to contest from Darjeeling this time. We will hold meetings on this in the coming days,” Rai said.

While the BJP is yet to announce its candidate from Darjeeling, another prominent political force in the hills, the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM), which has a political understanding with the Trinamool, has expressed satisfaction over the choice of the ruling party’s nominee.

According to BGPM supremo and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chief executive Anit Thapa, since the beginning, he had insisted on fielding a local face, and had even discussed the matter with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“Now with Gopal Lama being chosen as a candidate, not just us, but the entire Gorkha population is happy. We wish that Lama, after getting elected, will fulfil the wishes of the local Gorkha people,” said Anit Thapa.

The Darjeeling constituency has been a BJP stronghold for the past three consecutive terms starting 2009, and Raju Bista is the sitting BJP MP.

Throughout this period, the BJP received the backing of GJM and Gurung, though the latter’s charisma has eroded substantially from what it was during the peak period between 2009 and 2019. (IANS)

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