GJM to back party that supports GorkhalandFebruary 26th, 2009 - 12:38 am ICT by IANS
Siliguri (West Bengal), Feb 25 (IANS) The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) Wednesday said that support for a separate Gorkhaland state was a pre-condition for backing any candidate for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat, where it wields considerable clout.
The party is yet to decide whether it will support the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) or the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) spearheaded by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), GJM press and publicity secretary Benoy Tamang told reporters here.
“We may support either the BJP or the Congress…Whoever supports Gorkhaland will get our backing for the Darjeeling seat,” Tamang said.
“And it is not enough for any of these parties to say they support Gorkhaland. They have to mention this in their manifesto too,” he added.
Since the 1990s, the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat has been won by the party that secures the backing of the dominant outfit in the hills.
Till the 2004 general elections, the Subash Ghising-led Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) was the determining factor in the seat. But with GNLF losing its clout to the GJM since June last year, the latter’s backing would boost the chances of any party putting up a candidate in the constituency.
In 2004, the GNLF pitched for the Congress and its candidate Dawa Norbula sailed through.
However, there was speculation that the GJM could root for the BJP after the hill party got an invitation to attend a dinner in New Delhi hosted by the party’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani.
A five-member GJM delegation led by its president Bimal Gurung left for Delhi Wednesday.
“We may or may not attend the dinner. But merely attending the dinner does not mean we will go with the BJP. Let us see who supports our Gorkhaland demand more strongly,” the official said.
The GJM has been leading a movement in the hills for a separate Gorkhaland state to be carved out of Darjeeling district besides parts of neighbouring Jalpaiguri district in the northern part of the state.