Bengal’s hill politics: New power equation emerges over GJM- Hamro Party alliance

A new political equation seems to be emerging in the hills of Darjeeling in North Bengal, with Bimal Gurung- led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and Ajay Edward- led Hamro Party coming closer to counter Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM)- Trinamool Congress alliance in the hills.

The speculations of a possible GJM- Hamro Party alliance have started rolling after GJM leadership invited Ajay Edward to attend a seminar on the future prospects of separate Gorkhaland state in New Delhi, which was organised mainly by the GJM.

The development assumes significance because of the recent development in the hill politics where the BGPM- Trinamool Congress alliance last month managed to take control of the Darjeeling hill politics by roping in six Hamro Party councilors elected earlier to their camp.

In February this year, the Hamro Party took control over the Darjeeling Municipality by bagging 18 out of 32 wards in the civic body. The BGPM-Trinamool alliance bagged a total of 10 seats, with the BGPM at eight and the Trinamool at two. The GJM, which was once the final word in the hills of north Bengal, won just four seats. However, the scene changed within nine months in November this year with six turncoat councilors from Hamro party joining the BGPM-Trinamool alliance.

In fact, the leadership of both the GJM and Hamro Party have not ruled out a possibility of a future understanding between the two political forces in the hills.

According to Ajay Edward, the sentiment of the people of Darjeeling are associated with the issue of Gorkhaland. “We had been voicing for it always. There are possibilities of discussion with Bimal Gurung on the forthcoming panchayat elections in the state. At the same time, the manner in which the BGPM-Trinamool Congress alliance is trying to poach our elected councillors is unethical. This can disturb the prevailing peace in the hills,” he said.

The GJM general secretary, Roshon Giri said that since a permanent political solution in the hills are his party’s prime aim, they have invited similar- thinking forces from the hills like the Hamro Party at the seminar,” he said.

Veteran political analyst and an expert in the hill Politics, Nirmalya Banerjee said that a future GJM- Hamro Party understanding is quite possible since both these forces have now been pushed to a critical phase by the BGPM-Trinamool Congress alliance. “Now, how far the GJM- Hamro Party pact will work out will depend on how each of these two forces define the concept of permanent political solutions,” he said.




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