Former Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Anit Thapa’s newly-launched outfit Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) on Wednesday swept the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) election in West Bengal, winning 26 out of the total 45 seats while Trinamool Congress (TMC) opened its account, winning five seats.
BGPM president Thapa, who had formed his new hill party in September last year after coming out of the GJM, won from two seats. The GJM had boycotted the election held on June 26. Like GJM, the BJP and its ally Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) had also boycotted the GTA election.
Another new hill outfit Humro Party, which had won the Darjeeling municipality election earlier this year, emerged second winning eight seats while Independent candidates, backed by the BGPM, won six seats.
Speaking to reporters after his party’s victory, Anit Thapa said: “This win is dedicated to the people of north Bengal hills who have put their faith in us. We will work for the development of the people in this region.”
The GTA was formed in 2011 to govern Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, and some mouzas in the Siliguri subdivision. The previous GTA election was held in 2012. According to the government, it could not hold elections due to the 2017 agitation and the Covid-19 pandemic. The GTA sabha has 45 elected members, while the Governor nominates five. The GJM, the biggest hill party, had then swept the GTA elections, winning all seats.
Meanwhile, in the Siliguri mahakuma parishad panchayat polls, the ruling TMC is ahead in 283 out of 462 seats. The BJP is at a distant second, leading in 65 seats. The Congress is ahead in 11 seats and the Left front in eight.
The results of municipality bypolls were also announced Wednesday. In ward 8 of Panihati municipality, TMC candidate Meenakshi Dutta won by 2,284 votes. She is the wife of former TMC councillor Anupam Dutta who was shot dead by unidentified assailants after civic polls earlier this year. “The people were by my side. It is an unparalleled victory. This victory belongs to my late husband. I will now work on the path shown by him,” she said.
In Purulia’s Jhalda municipality, late Congress councillor Tapan Kandu’s nephew Mithun Kandu won the bypoll and retained the seat. Tapan Kandu too was killed by miscreants after civic polls earlier this year.
Meanwhile, in ward 17 of Chandannagar municipal corporation, CPM candidate Ashok Gangopadhyay won. In ward 3 of Bhatpara municipality, TMC candidate Kanaklata Das won by a margin of 155 votes. In ward 29 of South Dumdum municipality, TMC candidate Banashree Chatterjee won by 9,277 votes.