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BGPM wins GTA polls in West Bengal’s hills

Voting for the GTA and the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad in north Bengal was held on June 26.

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Kolkata: The Anik Thapa-led Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) on Wednesday captured the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), by winning 27 of the 45

seats in Sunday’s polls to the semi-autonomous body spread across Kalimpong district and

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parts of Darjeeling district in northern West Bengal hills.

The Humro Party triumphed in eight seats, while the Trinamool Congress got five seats. The independent nominees were successful in five seats.

The Trinamool Congress, which had put up candidates in ten seats, won five. This is the first time that the state’s ruling party has opened its account in the GTA polls.

Trinamool leader Binay Tamang won from Darjeeling’s Dali by over 500 votes. Ahead of the elections, the BGPM broke its alliance with the Trinamool and contested 36 seats on its own.

The Gorkha Janmuti Morcha, which had run the GTA from its formation in 2012 till 2017, has stayed away from the elections. In fact, GJM supremo and former GTA chairman Bimal Gurung had gone on a hunger strike demanding postponement of the elections, arguing that the present council cannot bring about any permanent solution to the problems faced by the Gorkha Community.

The BJP and its allies – Gorkha National Liberation Front, Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist, and All India Gorkha League – also opted out of the polls, backing the GJM’s stand.

The GTA’s authority now extends to the three hill subdivisions Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik, and some areas of the Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district and the whole of Kalimpong district.

Voting for the GTA and the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad in north Bengal was held on June 26.

As per the latest reports, the Trinamool Congress was on its way to a big win in the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad, by claiming or leading in 311 of the 462-member council. The BJP has won or was leading in 74 seats. The Congress was occupying the pole position in 16 seats and the Left Front in 12.

By-elections were also held in six wards of six municipalities of the state. The TMC won four, whereas the Congress and the CPI(M) won one each.

The Trinamool Congress candidates won the by-polls held in one ward each in South Dum Dum, Dum Dum, Bhatpara, and Panihati municipalities of North 24 Parganas district.

The Congress emerged victorious in one ward of Purulia district’s Jhalda Municipality, while the Communist Party of India Marxist secured a ward in Chandannagar Municipal Corporation.

In ward number two of Jhalda Municipality, Congress candidate Mithun Kandu defeated his Trinamool rival Jagannath Rajak by 778 votes. The result is significant as Mithu is the nephew of slain Congress councilor Tapan Kandu, whose fatal shooting on March 13 created a flutter in the state. Later, Niranjan Vaishnav, an eyewitness to Kandu’s murder was also found dead under mysterious circumstances. The Central Bureau of Investigation is probing both deaths.

Similarly, Meenakshi Dutta, the victorious Trinamool candidate from ward number eight of Panihati Municipality, is the widow of Anupam Dutta, whose killing caused the by-poll. Dutta was shot to death the same day as Kandu.

In Chandannagar Municipality, CPI(M) ‘s Ashok Gangopadhyay won Ward number 16 by a margin of 130 votes over his Trinamool Congress rival. The Trinamool had won the seat in the previous election.

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