On the first day of his campaign in Darjeeling, Trinamool Congress’ star candidate and former footballer Baichung Bhutia faced the ire of TMC units in the hills for requesting Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung to support him.
Bhutia, who started his campaign Friday, held a meeting with local TMC workers in Darjeeling. After the meeting, he said, “I will be very happy if Morcha supports us. I request Bimal Gurung to support me in then election. I share a very good relation with Bimal Daju and our party supremo too said that GJM is welcome to support us.” However, during Bhutia’s speech, local TMC leaders started agitating.
Local TMC leaders started shouting that they would never negotiate with the GJM and want to fight elections alone. State minister Gautam Deb, who was present at the meeting, brought the situation under control. Asking local leaders and workers to calm down, Deb said, “TMC is confident in fighting the election alone. The party has set up its organisation in the hills, and the people of the hills will bring victory to us.”
Deb held a closed door meeting with Bhutia after which Bhutia said, “TMC is powerful enough to fight the elections alone in the hills… Baichung Bhutia is the best possible candidate we could field in Darjeeling.”
Sources in the TMC, however, said GJM leaders have started negotiating with the BJP.