The 16 ward councillors joined BJP in the presence of BJP Bengal In-charge Kailash Vijayvarghiv and Darjeeling MP Raju Bista in New Delhi on Saturday

New Delhi: Sixteen ward councillors from Darjeeling Municipality on Saturday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of BJP Bengal In-charge Kailash Vijayvarghiv and Darjeeling MP Raju Bista.

On May 29, the 16 councillors had submitted a motion of ‘no confidence’ against the present board, which is backed by TMC-supported Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). Following this, the councillors had gone underground.

There were reports of their families being threatened, and also allegations of them being kidnapped by Bimal Gurung loyalists.

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With this move, the BJP now seems to be in a position to overthrow the TMC-backed board in Darjeeling Municipality.

Formed in 1850, Darjeeling is one of the oldest municipalities in India. It currently has 32 wards, but after one of the councillors, Ram Golay, resigned during the 2017 Gorkhaland agitation, and another Mani Pradhan died in 2018, there are effectively, only 30 councillors. With 16 at hand now, the BJP is well set to establish themselves in the Darjeeling Municipality for the first time in history.

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