West Bengal: TMC Blamed for ‘Starting Defection Politics’ in Darjeeling
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: PTI
The hills of West Bengal recently experienced the omnipotence of defection politics. This time, Ajay Edwards' Hamro Party was at the receiving end of this politics, which had to sit in the opposition benches despite having a clear-cut majority in the municipal elections in Darjeeling.
Anit Thapa's Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (GPM), an ally of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), engineered the defection in the Hamro Party whereby six of its councillors defected to GPM.
Protesting against the introduction of defection politics in the hills and the role of TMC in destroying democratic ethics in the hills, TMC leader Binay Tamang has decided to sever all connections with the party.
Tamang was the front-ranking leader of TMC in the hills of North Bengal, and his resignation from TMC is a jolt for the party in the region. He has also alleged that non-hill-based leaders are now administering hill politics.
On December 24, 2021, Tamang had visited Kolkata, where state education minister Bratya Basu gave him the TMC flag. Before joining TMC, Tamang was with GJM. After joining the ruling party in the state, Tamang had expressed the hope that development in the hills would take place due to chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
However, within a year, Tamang has resigned from the party, citing its democracy-busting role in the hills.
Reacting to this development, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) Darjeeling district secretary Saman Pathak condemned defection politics “started at the behest” of TMC.
"The party in the Central government (Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)) and the ruling party in the state are both playing a double game with the common people of the hills. Earlier, Thapa's party and TMC, after taking over the Gorkha Territorial Administration in its first board meeting, had proposed in support of the separate state of Gorkhaland in the hills. This should be outrightly condemned."
Ashok Bhattacharya, a CPI-M leader and former minister, alleged that defection politics was taking place under the “direct order of the CM” Mamata Banerjee. He also attacked Thapa's GPM for raising the demand of Gorkhaland recurringly.
"TMC does not take any elementary position regarding the harmful demands like Gorkhaland being carved out of the state," he said.
After his resignation, Tamang said he was interested in restoring democratic values and constitutional rights of people in the region.
There are 32 seats in the Darjeeling municipality. Out of 32, the Hamro Party won 16, and Thapa's GPM won nine. TMC secured two seats, whereas Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) won three. The strength of the floor of the municipality board was reduced as one of Thapa's councillors resigned. Out of the remaining 31, as many as 16 councillors, including the ones who defected from the Hamro Party, have put their weight behind Thapa's faction. Dipak Thakuri from this faction would be the new mayor of Darjeeling.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.