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Jana Andolan Party not to contest polls in the Hills this year

KOLKATA: Jana Andolan Party (JAP), floated by former Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chettri a few months ahead of the 2016 Assembly elections, will not contest the polls this year.

The party has cited financial constraints and the present political scenario in the Hills as the reasons for staying away from the poll fight.

"There is a reasonable expenditure involved in a political party contesting the elections. We are suffering from lack of funds and at the same time the present state of politics in the Hills is not congenial to contest the elections. There are two groups one that supports the state government and another the Central government. So, we feel that the regional voice is losing its relevance and genuine issues in the Hills that involves development of the people have taken a backseat. Politics in the Hills is presently regulated through money power. So we have decided not to fight the elections this year," said Chettri.

JAP is yet to decide which political party will they vote for in the elections but ruled out any possibility of supporting the saffron party. "We believe in secular politics and are dead against the party that are bent upon dividing people on the basis of caste, creed and religion,"said Chettri.

He reiterated that the party is waiting for the announcement of candidate list by the different political parties and then will hold meeting with party members to take a final decision about voting.

In the 2016 assembly polls Chettri lost to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's Sarita Rai from the Kalimpong seat by a margin of around 11000 votes.

In the 2019 bye polls in Darjeeling when BJP's Neeraj Zimba made a clean sweep in the Hills, JAP's Amar Lama managed to get only 3242 votes. Chettri had quit the GJM in September 2015.

Meanwhile, a senior TMC leader, who has been councillor since 1988 and Vice-Chairman of Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority, has decided to contest as an independent candidate from Siliguri in the Assembly elections.

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