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28 Apr 2017

Gurung warns party men contesting as independent candidates

EOI, DARJEELING, 27 Apr 2017: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today said disciplinary action would be taken against those who were not given tickets by the party and were contesting the municipal election as independents without seeking consent. Gurung issued the warning while campaigning for the GJM candidate from ward 17 of Darjeeling municipality. Addressing supporters at the Hari Mohan hall in ward 17, he said, “We must maintain discipline at all costs. Those who are contesting as independent candidates will not be allowed to use the party flag. They must also resign from their post, if they hold one. If anyone is found guilty of violation, I will be compelled to expel such leaders from the party."
In Darjeeling, 22 people are contesting as independent candidates. And in at least two wards, two candidates who failed to get GJM tickets are contesting as independents. “Recently, I was harsh on some people who had come to meet me regarding the municipal election. Since I was harsh on my own people, I decided to come and clear any sort of misunderstanding,” Gurung said.
Ward 7 is one of the trouble spots for the GJM as a party worker is contesting as an independent candidate. In all, 95 candidates are contesting from the 32 wards of Darjeeling municipality. The GJM will contest from all the wards, the TMC has fielded 20 candidates, the GNLF 12, Jan Andolan Party five, CPIM four, while 22 are independents.
In the 20 seats in Kurseong, 57 candidates are in the fray. Of these 20 are from the GJM, 15 TMC, six from the GNLF, six from the JAP and 10 are independents.
In all, 34 candidates are contesting from the nine wards of Mirik. The GJM has fielded nine, TMC seven, JAP six, GNLF rwo while 10 are independents.
For the 23 seats in Kalimpong, 102 candidates are contesting. The GJM has 22 candidates, TMC 19, JAP 23, GNLF three, CPIM nine and 26 are independents.
Today, the last date for withdrawal of nominations, 20 candidates withdrew their names from Darjeeling, 12 from Mirik, 20 from Kurseong and 65 from Kalimpong.
Speaking about the party’s agenda for the civic election, Gurung said it would be a battle with the Bengal government for a separate state. “This election will be Gorkhaland against Bengal. The state government is hatching a conspiracy and using all means at its disposal to curb the statehood demand. But we will not let this affect us,” he said.
The GJM alleges that the state government has formed community development boards to divide the hill communities, and though the party welcomed the formation of Kalimpong district and Mirik sub-division, it is of the opinion they were done with the civic election in mind.
Hill TMC working president N.B. Khawas, who is also contesting from Ward 20 of Darjeeling municipality, said after receiving his poll symbol, “We are contesting the election to rid the civic bodies of the hills of corruption and nepotism. We want good governance and a proper system and we are sure the people, who are now fed up with the GJM, will vote us to power."

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