Seat sharing equation: Aroop Biswas to hold talks with GNLF
With the last date of filing of nominations on Monday, the Hills were a witness to heightened political activities.
TMC observer for Darjeeling and Kalimpong, Aroop Biswas arrived in Kalimpong and proceeded to Darjeeling. On Tuesday, Biswas will be sitting with GNLF leaders to finalise the seat sharing coalition with the GNLF.
Though at Mirik and Kalimpong Municipal areas, the seat sharing equations have worked out well between the TMC and the GNLF, in Darjeeling and Kurseong there are a few hiccups. It was agreed upon that out of the 32 wards in Darjeeling, the TMC would field candidates in 20 wards and the GNLF in 12. However, the TMC has fielded candidates in 21 wards and the GNLF in 12. In ward number 26, there are both TMC and GNLF candidates.
The agreement also dictated that out of the 20 wards of Kurseong Municipality, the TMC would field candidates in 12 wards and the GNLF in eight. But the TMC has fielded candidates in all 20 wards with the GNLF fielding in 14.
"The seat sharing equation needs to be worked out mainly for Kurseong. There is always the scrutiny and the withdrawal dates where matters can be sorted out," stated N B Khawas, Working President, TMC (Hills.)
Political observers feel that TMC Observer Aroop Biswas will be playing a pivotal role to ensure that the coalition remains intact. A divided opposition would definitely be advantageous for the GJM camp.
"We will be sitting in a meeting with Aroop Biswas in Darjeeling on Tuesday to resolve this problem," stated Neeraj Zimba, spokesperson, GNLF.
Biswas attended a party workers' meeting in Kalimpong on Monday. "We will definitely form the board in Kalimpong and work for development, good governance and civic amenities," stated Biswas in Kalimpong.
Meanwhile, the GJM boat hit rough seas with key GJM party leaders in Mirik crossing over to the TMC along with 400 teachers switching sides to the TMC in the Hills. The GJM, on Monday, hurriedly fielded one Pemba Yonzon Tamang in Ward 8 in Kurseong with the death of their official candidate in that ward on Sunday.
As many as 423 teachers owing affiliation to the Janmukti Secondary Teachers' Organisation (JSTO) affiliated to the GJM crossed over to the West Bengal Hill Trinamool Secondary Teachers' Association.
"We want to work in close tandem with the state government to streamline and develop the education system of the Hills. Issues like filling up of vacancies of full-fledged head masters in Hill schools as well as thrashing out grey areas pertaining to midday meals can be addressed by the state government alone," stated Anil Sharma, former vice-president of JSTO who crossed over to the TMC.
In Kurseong, 58-year-old Rabin Kishore Gurung, GJM candidate for Ward 8, died on Sunday after he fell from the roof of his house while chasing away monkeys. The Morcha fielded one Pemba Yonzon Tamang in his place on Monday.