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Victory for Hills People, Questions for Gorkha Janmukti Morcha

- Bunu Sundas
The results of the Vidhan Sabha Constituencies in West Bengal have been declared, with all the candidates of GJM winning the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, with huge margins in Darjeeling and Kurseong but with a slender in Kalimpong. I say slender keeping in view the margins with which GJM had won the last time. Congratulations to all our winning candidates. Indeed it is a time to rejoice and make merry but is also the time to introspect why was the margin less this time around and why TMC could garner so many votes and how could a newly formed party challenge the hegemony in such a short span of time? This election in the hills, especially in Kalimpong, was of historic significance as there was a challenge to the ruling party by JAP, perceived to be a party that was a creation of the TMC to divide the unity of the hill folks. Kalimpong represented a symbolic contest between Gorkhaland supporters and those who were indirectly propagating to put an end to the demand of Gorkhaland. Had the results of Kalimpong gone astray it would have articulated a different opinion for the demand of Gorkhaland and the legitimacy of GJM as the representative of the Gorkha and their aspirations would have diminished manifold. 

As a consequence the demand of Gorkhaland would have also died a slow death as JAP would take their time to develop a cordial relationship with the state government. As they have reiterated that a cordial relation with the state government is essential for the creation of Gorkhaland, but knowing that Mamta had now and again vociferously said that Bengal would not be divided all their efforts would have been wasted in pleasing Mamta. In fact with this loss their efforts have gone waste and it is interesting for all of us to see what happens to JAP vis-a vis their relationship with the state government. Will Mamta still make Kalimpong a district or stall it as a retribution to the people of Kalimpong for not voting in favour of JAP? This victory is historic in its own way. Historically, since the time this generation has come to know about the Gorkhaland movement the majority of the leaders of the ruling party have not been the ones with high degree of education and this was one grievance that many people had with the role of the leadership. 

With the emergence of JAP, leadership to the people were provided by the 'intellectuals.' Therefore, it was natural for the people to overcome their grievances and support this leadership. However, people did not do so because the issue of Gorkhaland is rather pertinent than the educational credential of the leaders. This was also the time that the public could have been easily persuaded with the false promises that JAP was making and with the support of Mamta and the proclaimed intellectual leadership they were offering. This was a victory against the divisive policy favoured by JAP and Mamta Banerjee. As one of my friend says this is the victory of the JATI as well as it also demonstrates the relationship the GJM leadership has with the population at the grassroot. However, this election has also pointed that the JAP and others have gained some support. JAP candidate from Kalimpong got almost half the total votes cast. 

This is something that the leadership of GJM needs to ponder about and address. To be assure that it still has major vote share among the people it needs to have a agile and alert leadership and a vivacious organisation to consolidate the support at all levels. This victory has given GJM the opportunity to do this. GJM has the wherewithal and the potential to address these issues and all the Gorkhaland supporters and dreamers hope with sincerity that the leadership will come up with positive programmes and does not give any chance to such divisive forces in the near future. 

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