Millennium Post

BJP candidate Raju Bishta wins Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat

Darjeeling: It was a hattrick for the saffron camp and a "silent" defeat for the TMC in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency.

Along with the victory the winning margin is over 3 lakhs. BJP candidate Raju Bishta won from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat defeating the TMC candidate Amar Singh Rai by 302228 votes. While Bishta secured 5.27,375 votes, Amar Singh Rai of the TMC secured 2,25,147 votes.

BJP had got a foothold in Bengal politics in 2009 winning in the Darjeeling constituency.

BJP heavyweight Jaswant Singh, backed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) had defeated the CPIM candidate by a margin of 2,53,289 votes.

Again in 2014, another BJP heavyweight SS Ahluwalia had won the seat backed by the GJM. He had defeated the TMC candidate by a margin of 1,97,239 votes.

Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency has 3 assembly segments in the Hills and 4 in the plains.

In the past, the BJP had consolidated votes in the Hills in the name of Gorkhaland. While the Hills votes remained consolidated it was a fractured mandate in the plains.

This time however the political equations had changed dramatically. Following the political upheaval in 2017 culminating in a 105-day long bandh in the Hills the GJM witnessed a vertical split. While Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa took over the party in the Hills, Bimal Gurung and his close confidants including Roshan Giri have been absconding since July 2017.

The GJM (Binay faction) had extended support to the TMC this time. GJM MLA from Darjeeling, Amar Singh Rai was given the TMC ticket to contest backed by the GJM.

On the other hand Raju Bista had been fielded by the BJP backed by the GNLF and the Bimal Gurung faction of the GJM.

Political pundits state that there was an undercurrent against the TMC, the Hills blaming the TMC for the 2017 unrest.

They have dubbed the voting as "silent" where the mandate went silently against the TMC. Interestingly voting patterns indicate that the Left votes went to the saffron kitty. Though in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency, the

Left has a sizeable number of votes with the Siliguri Assembly constituency is under the Left, this time the Left vote percentage was 4.7 percent. Saman Pathak of the CPIM secured 41,529 votes.

In the Assembly Bypolls, BJP candidate Neeraj Zimba defeated Binay Tamang independent candidate backed by the GJM (Binay faction) and the TMC by 44149 votes. While Zimba secured 83977 votes, Tamang bagged 39828 votes.

"I was sure we will win the Darjeeling seat. The Hills have never tolerated oppressors for too long. The margin has been the highest. People want peace. People were terrorised and the people of the Hills and plains stood up. This has translated into votes," stated Bishta.

"It is a phenomenal judgment given by the people. The 2017 unrest factor contributes 99% to the victory," added Zimba.

The GJM (Binay faction) will be sitting in a meeting in the next two days to review the situation. "We will continue working with the TMC led state government. We accept the people's mandate," stated Binay Tamang.

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