Darjeeling: The Modi wave that led to a landslide victory for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), securing over 300 seats across the country, made a remarkable impact in the Parliamentary elections and assembly by-polls in the Darjeeling region as well.
BJP candidate Neeraj Tamang Zimba won the assembly by-polls defeating Trinamool Congress (TMC)-supported independent candidate Binoy Tamang by a margin of 46,538 votes. While Zimba polled 88,161 votes, Tamang got 41,623.
The by-election to the Darjeeling assembly constituency was held on May 19 this year. Since sitting Darjeeling MLA Amar Singh Rai, who had won the seat on a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) ticket, wanted to contest Parliamentary elections on a TMC ticket, he was forced to resign from the seat to be eligible. This prompted the by-election to the Darjeeling assembly seat.
Similarly, the saffron party’s Raju Bista won the Darjeeling Parliamentary constituency by an overwhelming margin of 4,13,443 votes against his nearest opponent, TMC’s Amar Singh Rai, who secured 3,36,624 votes. The 35-year-old Bista managed to secure 7,50,067 votes — 59.19% of the total votes in the constituency. Bista is a Delhi-based entrepreneur hailing from Manipur’s Kangpokpi district.
It took many by surprise when the BJP decided to field Bista, as the party’s candidate for the Darjeeling parliamentary constituency. However, it was a smart move on the party’s part to find a young Gorkha from Manipur in the politically hostile hill district as many were not happy with the performance of veteran BJP leader SS Ahluwalia as their MP.
The achievements made by BJP this year indeed shows the party’s stunning inroads in Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal, showing a virtual saffron sweep in the state’s northern parts, as also the western tribal heartland.