Darjeeling: Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) is all set to form the new board of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) after winning in 27 constituencies out of the 45 seats on Wednesday.

The counting of the GTA polls took place in three different places across Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts. There were 7 lakh voters while 59.05% of votes were cast. while BGPM won in 27 constituencies, Hamro Party won in eight (8) constituencies, TMC in five (5) constituencies and Independents candidates won in 5 constituencies.

Bimal Gurung’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM), Mann Ghising’s Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and Bharatiya Janata Party didn’t contest the elections, as they boycotted the GTA elections, on grounds of people dismissing GTA, while placing the demands for a permanent solution for the hills.

Ajoy Edwards’s Hamro Party (HP) which was being seen as the main contender to Anit Thapa’s BGPM managed to win only 8 seats. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) won five seats, while five independent candidates also secured victories.

The BGPM had contested 36 seats while Hamro Party had fielded candidates in all the 45 constituencies. The TMC was contesting in 10 seats.

After the win today, BGPM president Anit Thapa told the local media in Darjeeling, “This was a very tough journey for us with us losing many times now. However, in each election that was held in the past our support from the people has increased. People have put faith in me that I can do something.”

Thapa was running on a losing streak in the past four previous elections in the hills including the recent Darjeeling civic polls.

“There are a lot of challenges ahead and I have to work to make the future of the hills. There are many issues like panchayat election, formation of SSC, regularisation of casual workers along with other things we will work for,” said Thapa who was also the GTA chairman for a brief period.

Thapa who contested from Sitong-Latpanchar and Kurseong-Giddepahar constituencies appealed to his supporters not to create disturbances during their victory celebrations.

On the other hand, Hamro Party president Ajoy Edwards told local media, “We respect the mandate of the people and with the winning party well. We may be in the minority, but we will be the voice of the people and work as a strong and constructive opposition in the GTA.”

Hamro Party won seven seats in Darjeeling and one seat in Kurseong but failed to score any in Kalimpong. Both BGPM and the Hamro Party are fresh in the Darjeeling Hills electoral race, they were formed in September and November 2021 respectively.

Senior TMC leader Binay Tamang won from the Rishihat-Bloomfield constituency in Darjeeling. “I will take up the issue of granting land rights to the hill people with the Bengal government. I also thank people for voting for me,” he said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee congratulated the BGPM for winning the GTA election. “Lots of things have happened in the past in the hills. Now peace has returned, and elections have been held peacefully and democratically with people participating in them. I congratulate the hill people. The opposition has won only 8 and our alliance the rest,” she said.

Also Read: The 1986 Mizo Peace Accord: Why Mizoram celebrates ‘Remna Ni’

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