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18 May 2017

TMC sweeps civic polls, wrests Mirik from GJM in Hills

TMC sweeps civic polls, wrests Mirik from GJM in HillsAmitava Banerjee | MP| 18 May 2017 | Darjeeling:All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) managed to create a crack in the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) shield, wresting the Mirik Municipality from the party in power in the Hills. GJM retained the Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong municipalities. In the plains Trinamool has won in all the three municipalities, Raigung in North Dinajpur, Domkal in Murshidabad and Pujali in South 24 Parganas. 
The opposition parties including Congress, BJP and Left Front were reduced to nothing and they collectively bagged only 9 out of 64 seats spreading over three municipalities situated in the plains.
What is impressive about the Trinamool victory in the plains, is its' impressive vote share. It secured 63% votes in Raigunj, 69.22% in Domkal and 51.5% votes in Pujali. 
Shortly after the results of the civic polls were out, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee tweeted: "Congratulations to my brothers/ sisters in hill areas of Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik for participating in the democratic process. Congratulations to Ma Mati Manush for again and again putting their trust in us. We are indeed privileged and humbled. The hills are smiling. Special thanks to Mirik for reposing faith in us. We will work sincerely for you. After so many decades we begin a new era in the hills." 
Party secretary general Partha Chatterjee said, "the untiring work of Mamata Banerjee has won the hearts of the people of the hills." He congratulated the people of the hills " for accepting Trinamool Congress." 
In Mirik, TMC emerged victorious in 6 seats while GJM won 3 seats. In Darjeeling, GJM won 31 seats with TMC winning one seat. In Kurseong 17 seats went the GJM way with the TMC winning 3. In Kalimpong the GJM won 18 seats; TMC and Jan Andolan Party (JAP) won 2 seats each, and a single seat went to a GJM backed independent candidate. 
In 2011, the GJM had won all 32 seats in Darjeeling, 23 in Kalimpong and all 20 seats of Kurseong uncontested. On December 11, 2011, 5 wards of the Mirik Municipality had gone to polls with independent candidates challenging the GJM might. All the 5 seats were bagged by the GJM. 
"People have voted for development in Mirik. We will be forming the board in Mirik. In all the other three municipalities we have gained footholds," stated West Bengal Tourism Minister Gautam Deb. 
"It is the victory of the public. They have given a befitting reply to the conspiracy that the West Bengal Government had launched in the Hills. It is a victory of Gorkhaland. We have asked for a recounting in Mirik as results were announced within 15 minutes of counting. There could be some foul play." alleged GJM President Bimal Gurung. 
Kalimpong results proved a major dampener for the Jan Andolan Party (JAP.) In the last Assembly elections, JAP had led in 17 Municipal wards. This time they managed to get only 2 seats in Kalimpong. "JAP was not floated to run elections alone. We have come out for long term politics. This is temporary" stated JAP President Harka Bahadur Chettri. 
GJM supporters Nitu Tamang and Sunita Pradhan suffered injuries in Kalimpong. They alleged that they were attacked by TMC supporters. "We have received FIRs and counter FIRs. We are looking into it. Other than this the day passed off by and large peacefully" said Amit P Javalgi, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling. 
The TMC has projected LB Rai, former Chairman of Mirik Municipality as chief of the Mirik civic body. 
The GJM has projected DK Pradhan, former Chairman and former MLA as head of the Darjeeling civic board. For Kalimpong Municipality the GJM has projected Subha Pradhan for the top job. 
In Raigunj and Murshidabad, both considered Congress strongholds, it managed only 4 seats, while the Left Front got only one seat. BJP got three seats, two in Pujali and 1 in Raigunj. Dilip Ghosh, state BJP president said "the results show how Trinamool had conducted the elections in the plains. The results do not reflect the view of the people." 

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