With the Lok Sabha elections round the corner,top leaders of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) are camping in Delhi since Tuesday and holding meetings with senior BJP leaders.
The Morcha leaders are,however,tightlipped about the political purpose of the meeting and instead say that it is all about gathering support for their cause of a separate Hill state.
Amid this,the state unit of BJP says the party is totally against the division of West Bengal. We have never supported the creation of a separate Gorkhaland state. We have not received any word from our leadership in Delhi about supporting the Morcha cause. As far as we know,the GJM leaders are in Delhi meeting our senior leaders, said Rahul Sinha,state BJP secretary.
The BJP has already announced its candidate for Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency. A former IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre,Dawa Sherpa,is considered a newcomer to politics. He told The Indian Express that he had taken voluntary retirement from the service only to contest the elections on a BJP ticket.
I have always felt drawn towards the BJP and have closely interacted with several leaders in UP during my long stint as an IPS officer, Sherpa said,but declined to comment on getting the Morchas support for his campaign.
Sinha,too,said there was no specific thrust on getting the Morcha to support Sherpas election campaign. This is election time,and we would like to get the support of everyone in every constituency where our candidates are fielded. That doesnt mean we support creation of Gorkhaland, Sinha said.
Since Tuesday,Morchas president Bimal Gurung and other leaders of his outfit have met BJP leaders like L K Advani and Rajnath Singh.
As of now,we are only talking about the issue of Gorkhaland with the BJP leaders. The time has not yet come to talk about the elections. We have not deliberated as yet on whether to support BJPs candidate Sherpa, said Roshan Giri,general secretary of the GJM.
In Darjeeling,sources close to the CPM said the GJM is seeking the BJPs support as they hope that BJP-led NDA would come back to power at the Centre.
In the 2004 polls,the GNLF had supported the Congress. Now,the GJM has taken over and feels that the Congress hasnt really helped their cause. The GJM is trying to seek assurance from the BJP on the statehood demand. In fact,it was during the NDA regime that larger states were divided to form new,smaller states, sources said.
Sources in the district administration say BJP leaders in the Hills have been spotted at Morchas protest rallies.
However,politicians in Darjeeling like the president of Gorkha League,Madan Tamang,feel that Mochas support to the BJP will only divide the anti-CPM vote. The BJP has no base in the Hills. Support for the BJP by the Morcha will divide the anti-CPM vote, Tamang said.
The Morchas support will ,however,be crucial for Sherpa or any other national partys candidates election prospects,as national parties have little or no following in the Hills.
Traditionally,Gorkha leaders announce their support for a particular party or a candidate only in the last leg of the election campaign.