Kolkata: Anit Thapa floated Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) — a close associate of West Bengal ruling party Trinamool Congress — is all set to form a new Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) board in the hills of Darjeeling in north Bengal.
While BGPM bagged 27 out of 45 seats in GTA, the semi-autonomous council for governing the hills, Trinamool Congress finished the tally with five in a virtually one-sided poll, where prominent hill- based political forces like Bimal Gurung’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and the national party like BJP abstained from participating in the polls.
Ajay Edward’s newly floated Hamro Party managed to bag victory in eight seats, while five seats went in favour of the independents. Anit Thapa himself got elected from both the seats it contested. Incidentally, BJP has its elected MP from Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency since 2009. The polls were conducted on June 26, 2022 and polling percentage was extremely low at around 57 per cent.
According to political analyst expert in north Bengal and northeastern India affairs and writer of the book “The Buddha and Borders”, Nirmalya Banerjee now it is to be seen whether Anit Thapa forms the new board in his own strength or does that in association with Trinamool Congress.
“I personally feel that Thapa is keen to maintain a cordial relationship with the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and hence he will invite Trinamool Congress to be part of the new board,” he said.
However, at the same time, he added that the results would have surely been not so one-sided had GJM, GNLF and BJP not abstained themselves from the polling process.
“However, it is for definite that the results will push the demand for separate Gorkhaland state in the back- bench at least for quite some time now. So will be the demand for a permanent political settlement in the hills, he said.
After the victory, Anit Thapa said that the people of the hills have voted in favour of peace and development.
On Wednesday, the results for Siliguri Sub-divisional Council polls in north Bengal were also announced. Trinamool Congress rested control over 20 out of 22 gram panchayats under this council.