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29 May 2017

Change of rule and colour

With the new coat of painting. Picture by Passang Yolmo
VIVEK CHHETRI and AVIJIT SINHA, TT, May 28: The political landscape of Mirik has changed. So has the colour of the municipality building.
Nestled in the hill town that has been upgraded to a subdivisional headquarters early this year, the yellow-and-earth brown-coloured structure has changed to a blue-and-white one.
After Mamata came to power in Bengal six years ago, a combination of blue and white has been the state's unofficial colour code.
Trinamul's ascent to power in Mirik cannot be denoted better than the change in the colour of the civic office.
The Mirik municipality office earlier
"There are other government buildings across the Darjeeling hills which bear the same colour code (of blue-and-white). But the change in the colour of the Mirik municipality building is obviously significant as the first elected representatives of Trinamul in the hills will function from there," a Trinamul leader in Mirik said.
The swearing-in of the newly elected councillors, along with L.B. Rai as the chairman, will take place tomorrow. A party that is not based in the hills has stormed into power in any election in the region for the first time in the past 30 years.
According to the Trinamul leader, the "changeover" marks the most significant political development in the hills in the past 10 years. The last major political change was recorded on October, 2007, when the GNLF lost its ground to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, floated by Bimal Gurung.
Mirik, local people said, was gearing up for the swearing-in with preparations in full swing. After the event, a rally will be brought out in the town, followed by dance, music and food at Fulbari, situated along Sumendu lake.
A host of Trinamul leaders, including ministers Aroop Biswas and Gautam Deb, along with Alipurduar MLA Sourav Chakraborty, will attend the event.
"We will be in Mirik tomorrow to attend the swearing-in. It is an important victory for the party. People have entrusted us with the responsibility of the town and we will make all efforts to meet their aspirations," Biswas said in Siliguri today.
The residents are also eagerly waiting for the visit of chief minister Mamata Banerjee early next month.
"When the chief minister was here to announce Mirik as a subdivision, she had given the hope that the state government would resolve the issue of land rights. Most of us here do not have land rights and we hope the chief minister will meet our expectation because of the support we have shown to her party," said Bipin Subba, a Mirik resident.
The residents also want the state government and the civic body to improve the landscape and infrastructure of Sumendu lake and adjoining areas, the topmost attraction of the town. The people expect an improvement in road conditions in the subdivision and better healthcare facilities.
Trinamul leaders said there would be constant monitoring of the civic board and implementation of state government projects in Mirik.
"The idea is to prove before people in due course that the Trinamul board that is working in consonance with the state government is carrying out development works with competence, unlike three other hill municipalities which the Morcha has won," said a Trinamul leader.
A day before Trinamul takes over the municipality, Bimal Gurung addressed a large gathering in Mirik and asked the hill people to be on guard against Bengal's larger plan of diluting the Gorkhaland cause.
The Morcha has retained the civic bodies of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.
D.K. Pradhan is the Morcha's candidate for the chairman's post in Darjeeling. The party is yet to name the prospective vice-chairman.
In Kalimpong, Suva Pradhan and Sonam Tsewang Bhutia (Yakha) will be the chairman and the vice-chairman, respectively.
In Kurseong, the Morcha hasn't announced the names of the chairman nor the vice-chairman,
In Mirik, Trinamul is yet to name the vice-chairman.

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