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18 May 2017

Gurung sees 'last chance'

Gurung in Darjeeling 
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, May 17: Bimal Gurung today told the 31 victorious candidates from Darjeeling that people in the hills had given the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha "one last chance" and it was time to "sit down soon and analyse".
"This is one last chance that the people have given us. They voted for us not looking at Bimal Gurung's face but for the issue of Gorkhaland. Kalimpong understood the importance of this election. We will have to sit down soon and analyse all aspects and discuss every point in detail," Gurung told the candidates at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling.
The Morcha chief's remarks assume significance ahead of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration polls that are scheduled in August.
D.K. Pradhan, the convener of the Morcha's Study Forum, who is being projected as Darjeeling's next civic chief, conceded that some form of lethargy had crept into the party.
"It was at the last moment that we managed to arouse some enthusiasm among our party cadres and get the momentum going."
Political observers said Gurung's word of caution indicated that the Morcha was considering Trinamul a bigger threat than Harka Bhadur Chhetri's JAP and the GNLF, at least in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik.
The GNLF, which had fielded 23 candidates in the four hill municipalities, did not win a single seat.
Asked if the GNLF was losing its political space to Trinamul, spokesperson Neeraj Zimba said: "Trinamul's win is also our win. Our supporters have voted for the Trinamul candidate. We have a good presence in Mirik and our votes helped them. It is a different issue altogether that the candidates we had fielded did not win."
Zimba said the GNLF would sit for a meeting soon to review the results.
"We will definitely review the results," he said.

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