Kolkata, Apr 2 : In a jolt to the BJP, its ally Gorkha Janamukti Morcha has decided to extend unconditional support to Trinamool Congress and Congress candidates in the Terai and Dooars in north Bengal in the assembly elections with Trinamool saying the decision is "totally uncalled for".
"Our vision is clear. We are in favour of a change and want to see Left Front candidates lose. We have therefore extended our support unconditionally to the Trinamool Congress and Congress candidates," GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri told PTI from Darjeeling on Friday.
Though the development lifted weeks of suspense on GJM's political stand for the upcoming polls, it drew sharp reaction from ally BJP which described the decision as
"As per the discussions with them we have left four seats -- including Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong -- to GJM in return for support to us in six seats in the plains,but GJM's decision is unfortunate," state BJP president Rahul Sinha said."We have informed the party's central leadership,"Sinha said.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung Thursday night announced at a press conference in Darjeeling that it would support the candidates of the Trinamool-Congress alliance in the six constituencies of Malbazar, Kumargram, Dhupguri, Phulbari-Dabgram, Naxalbari and Phansidewa.
The Trinamool Congress on Friday said the GJM's 'unilateral decision' had no backing from the party."The GJM's decision is totally uncalled for as there were no prior talks between the two parties in this regard,"Trinamool Congress all-India general secretary Mukul Roy told PTI.
"So how does the question of understanding between the two parties arise? It is nothing but an attempt at character assassination of our party," the trusted confidant of Mamata Banerjee asserted.
Roy went on to blame the development on a game plan by the BJP and CPI-M, saying GJM, was an ally of the BJP.Moreover, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had
said categorically during her visit to the Darjeeling hills last year in connection with a railway programme that she was totally opposed to division of West Bengal, Roy said.
State Congress chief Manas Bhuniya said, "I am away from Kolkata campaigning in my constituency at Sabang in West Midnapur district. We have seen Bimal Gurung's comment in the media. I will talk to the leaders of Darjeeling district."
In the 2009 election, the Gorkha outfit which is spearheading an agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland carved out of West Bengal, extended support to BJP's Jaswant Singh who won decisively from the Darjeeling seat.
The decision to support the Congress-Trinamool alliance could have a bearing on the electoral outcome in the seats in the Terai and Dooars, which have a substantial Gorkha population. It is also likely to have a significant impact in Siliguri, where Gorkhas are present in large numbers and from where Urban Development Minister and senior CPI-M leader Ashok Bhattacharya is seeking re-election.
The GJM has fielded its own candidates in Darjeeling,Kalchini, Kalimpong and Kurseong in the hills and will support a candidate of the Progressive People's Party at Nagrakata and a BJP candidate at Madarihart in the plains.
The GJM decision has unnerved the Left parties which fear the GJM's support to candidates of Trinamool Congress -Congress alliance will lead to division of votes in at least 12 seats putting hurdles in the way of its candidates winning from there.
The CPI-M swiftly seized on GJM's announcement of support to Trinamool Congress and Congress and dubbed it an alliance of 'separatist forces'. PTI