Polling in Hills could run into inclement weather today

Polling in Hills could run into inclement weather today

Darjeeling: Polling in the Hills on April 17 could run into rough weather. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an amber warning over this region for the next 48 hours. Coupled with the tough terrain, inclement weather could make matters more challenging.

Friday saw sporadic rainfall, hailstorm, thundering and gusty winds in the Hills as polling personnel departed for the booths.

The IMD forecast for the next 48 hours includes thunderstorm, hailstorm, gusty winds and rain. An "amber" warning has been issued for this region.

"This weather condition is owing to an upper air trough and strong moisture incursion from Bay of Bengal over this region. Thunderstorm accompanied by hail, gusty winds and rain has affected this region and will continue for the next 48 hours," stated Gopinath Raha, in charge of IMD, Gangtok.

In the last 24 hours, Darjeeling witnessed 13 mm of rainfall (from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm on Friday) and the plains of Siliguri 12mm.

Darjeeling district with five Assembly constituencies has a total elector strength of 1222190 with 609933 males and 612243 females and 14 third gender electors. There are 1,413 polling stations in the district.

The Kalimpong district has 209760 electors, including 103961 male and 105799 females. There are 301 polling stations.

It is a triangular battle in the Hills between Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binoy), Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Bimal faction) and the BJP supported by alliance parties, including the GNLF and the CPRM. TMC has not fielded candidates in the three Hill seats, including Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong and has left it for its "friends."

Though the issue of Gorkhaland is in the backburner this election, NRC has emerged as a major issue with apprehensions of names being struck off if BJP comes to power in the state and imposes NRC.

Union Home minister Amit Shah during a recent public meeting in Darjeeling had declared that the Gorkhas need not worry about NRC. "Not a single Gorkha will be affected," he has assured.

However, not many are buying this. Gorkhas from Assam, including members of the All Assam Gorkha Students Union, declared that thousands of Gorkhas have been affected by NRC in Assam with many declared D voters.

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