Gorkhaland not to be a poll issue in Darjeeling

For the first time in over two decades the statehood demand for Gorkhaland will not be a poll issue in Darjeeling. (AFP File Photo)

The long-standing demand for the separate state of Gorkhaland which has been the dominant electoral issue in West Bengal’s Darjeeling hills has lost favour with the major political players in the Hills.

Neither the two major rivals BJP and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) nor the local political parties GJM and GNLF are willing to make it a poll issue. For the first time in over two decades the statehood demand for Gorkhaland will not be a poll issue in Darjeeling.

According to TMC candidate and former Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (MLA) Amar Singh Rai, his party is emphasising on development rather than on the statehood issue. “It is more practical to stress on development rather than on the Gorkhaland issue for the Lok Sabha elections. Darjeeling is in urgent need for development,” said Rai.

The BJP leadership in Darjeeling also is not willing to make the demand for Gorkhaland a poll issue this time. “ Our main issue is restoring of democracy in the Hills. It is the key to find a peaceful political solution to the problem plaguing the Hills,” said Manoj Dewan, BJP district president in Darjeeling.

Even the faction of GJM headed by Bimal Gurung who led the more than 100-day long Gorkhaland agitation in 2017 is not interested to make the statehood demand a poll issue. A senior leader of the GJM faction said that people of Darjeeling Hills have moved away from the Gorkhaland issue.

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Gorkhaland not to be a poll issue in Darjeeling

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