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Why CPRM losing their support base in Darjeeling Hills?

KALIMPONG : The Lok Sabha Election 2014 has thrown an important question out to the fore regarding CPRM’s stature as one of the top political party in the hills. Harsh as it may sound, but the party which was ready to give its everything for the development in the hills, has lost the support it once used to enjoy. The party had supported DDUDF chief and independent candidate for Darjeeling seat, Dr. Mahindra P Lama for the elections this year. However, the dismal performance of Dr. Lama in the elections has raised questions against CPRM’s support base, which is at an all time low. During the 2009 LS Elections, CPRM had supported GJM and helped its BJP candidate Jaswant Singh to win the election by a huge margin. Due to the emphatic victory, the party did not have to make any introspection on its support base then. Moreover, CPRM has never fielded its own candidate in any elections till now and this year was no different. Despite Morcha supporting a BJP candidate again for this election, CPRM did not support GJM citing work, political and ideological differences. Therefore, the party at the last minute decided to support Dr. Lama, who was following AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal-type politics in the hills, However, to the dismay of CPRM leaders and its supporters, Dr. Lama failed miserably in the election, despite having support from various organisations and associations. 

The defeat has not only baffled political watchdogs and other Lama supporters, but has also left CPRM leadership perplexed and embarrassed. Yet, the party leaders do not seem to be in a mood to ponder over its depleting support base and its overall presence in the hills. The leadership instead is trying to cover the situation by saying the votes Dr. Lama gained were from its support base. According to CPRM spokesperson Govind Chettri, 99% of the 55,774 votes Dr. Lama garnered were from his party’s support base, while the remaining 1% votes were from the support base of Lama and other organisations supporting him. Chettri claimed the figures were derived from the observation of the party’s booth-level committee and from the official electoral results. He also said he was happy with the BJP win as it has ended the divide-and-rule policy of the ruling TMC and hoped the saffron party will stand by its promise of forming the separate state of Gorkhaland. 

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