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7 May 2018

Dooars Gorkhas back TMC

The march in Nagrakata on Sunday. (Biplab Basak)
TT, Jalpaiguri: Around 25,000 supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, along with ex-leaders of the party who are in Trinamul now, held a rally at Nagrakata in the Dooars on Sunday to express solidarity with Mamata Banerjee and her party.
The supporters also attended a meeting convened by Trinamul in a community hall where former Morcha leaders fumed at the BJP and Bimal Gurung.
"Bimal Gurung had time and again dangled the carrot of Gorkhaland in the Dooars and we had supported him. But he has failed to include even a portion of the Dooars in the GTA area and worked only to fulfil his own interests. Thousands of people in the Dooars had stood by him but none of their aspirations was fulfilled. That is why we have joined Trinamul and each of us will support the party's candidates in the coming panchayat polls," said Sandip Chhetri, a former convener of the Morcha in the Dooars.
The ex-leaders of the Morcha said it was necessary to showcase their strength because there was a rumour that they would support the BJP. Since 2008, most of the Gorkha people in the Dooars have supported the BJP but this time, they have decided to back Mamata's party.
"Some campaigns are going on in the social media that Morcha supporters in the Dooars will support the BJP. We wanted to debunk such rumours through the rally and the meeting. Bimal Gurung and the BJP have not done anything for us. We are with Trinamul and not any other party," said Binod Ghatani, a former central committee member of the Morcha.
Gorkha residents of both Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar participated in the rally. As it reached the community hall in Nagrakata, most of the rallyists could not enter inside and stood outside to hear the leaders.
"A section of BJP leaders is trying to create confusion among voters in the Dooars by claiming that they still have the support of the Gorkha population. We have proved that Gorkhas are with us," said Sourav Chakraborty, the Jalpaiguri district Trinamul president.
While the show of strength has has come as a fresh setback for the BJP.
"In the Dooars, the BJP has always banked on the Morcha and could win some seats in the 2013 panchayat polls and even an Assembly seat (Madarihat) in 2016. But considering the manner in which Morcha supporters hit the streets and articulated support for Trinamul, it would be tough for the BJP to secure their votes," said an observer.
The rally is also an indicator that like the hills, the support of Bimal Gurung is rapidly depleting in the Dooars, he said.

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