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25 Apr 2018

Morcha signals poll readiness

Vivek Chhetri Apr 25, 2018 Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha central leadership has directed leaders of frontal organisations to be ready for "any election any time", signalling that Binay Tamang-Anit Thapa group is confident of its support base in the hills.

For the first time after Tamang was made president, the party held a meeting with leaders of the 14 frontal organisations in Darjeeling on Monday.

The meeting was chaired by Satish Pokhrel, vice-president of the Morcha. Neither Tamang nor Thapa were present.

"This was our first meeting with the leaders of the frontal organisations and the central committee has asked our frontal organisation leaders to be ready to face any elections any time," Pokhrel said on Tuesday.

The Morcha leadership had so far not talked about elections in any forum.

Pokhrel did not specify any election. Tamang has been nominated the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chief by the state government.

"It is the duty of any political party to take part in an election. This is why we have asked our leaders to be ready to face any elections that comes our way, be it the panchayat, GTA or even the Lok Sabha elections next year," said Pokhrel.

Panchayat elections have not been held in the hills since 2000 and the five-year tenure of the GTA ended in August last year.

Asked whether the message was an indication of the growing confidence in the party, Pokhrel replied in the affirmative. "Yes, we believe we now have the support of the hill people. If the GTA elections are held, we are confident of winning all 45 seats," said Pokhrel.

Tamang Sikkim visit

Tamang will visit Rhenock in Sikkim on Thursday on the invitation of chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling to kick-start the birth centenary celebrations of Shiva Kumar Rai, a well-known literary figure from Darjeeling who was deputy minister (labour) in the B.C. Roy government of Bengal.

Tshering Dahal, chairperson, District School Board, said: "GTA chairman, Binay Tamang will be visiting Rhenock in Sikkim on the invitation of Sikkim chief minister, Pawan Kumar Chamling to kick start the centenary birth anniversary of Shiv Kumar Rai on Thursday."

Rai, also a founder member of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL), was a renowned literary figure. "He was born in Rhenock on April 26, 1919 and passed away on July 22, 1995. He was also the first Gorkha minister in the Bengal government. The GTA along with the Shiv Kumar birth centenary celebration committee, Kurseong, have decided to mark his birth centenary in a big way."

Tamang will also announce the name of the receipt of the Shiv Kumar award instituted by the GTA, from Sikkim on Thursday.

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