GTA chief to contest Darjeeling Assembly by-poll

Wed, Apr 24, 2019

Binay in Darjeeling fray with an eye on cabinet berth

Our Correspondent
Setting at rest all speculations, Binay Tamang was today nominated as the candidate of his faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for the by-election to the Darjeeling Assembly seat with the confidence that he would get a berth in the Bengal cabinet if he were to emerge victorious.
The by-poll was necessitated following the resignation of the sitting MLA Amar Singh Rai, who is contesting the Lok Sabha election from Darjeeling as a candidate of the Trinamul Congress backed by the Binay camp of the Morcha.
Tshering Dahal, a leader of Nari Morcha, the women’s wing of the Morcha, said Tamang’s name was approved by the central committee of the party which met here today. “We are confident once he wins the election, he will be inducted in the Trinamul government in Bengal as minister in-charge of hills affairs,” she said.
Dahal claimed that Tamang and his deputy Anit Thapa have carried out a lot of development work in the hills after the Bengal government appointed them the chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the board of administrators of the GTA 17 months back, and Tamang will carry forward that work even more vigorously once he becomes a minister.
The Morcha leader listed a number of issues the party will campaign for in the by-polls, including the granting of land rights to tea garden and cinchona plantation workers, minimum wages for tea workers, creation of more jobs, upgrading existing municipalities into corporations, set up municipalities in Sonada and Sukhia and upgrade Bijanbari block into a sub-division.
“More than 82 per cent of the people in the GTA area do not have parcha patta (land rights). In Darjeeling town alone, more than 2,000 households do not have parcha patta. Both Binay and Anit have promised to deliver land rights by 2020,” she said.
Another Morcha leader Keshav Raj Pokhrel, too, expressed the confidence that Tamang will not only win in the by-poll, but he will also go on to become a minister. “He will raise our voices in Nabanna (the Bengal government’s headquarters in Kolkata). We will finally have a say in the Bengal cabinet,” he said.
Asked as to who would replace Tamang as the GTA chairman, Pokhrel said it will be decided later.
Tamang is expected to file his nomination papers for the by-poll on April 26.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi