By-poll result gives a fillip to Gorkhaland movement

Kolkata, Nov 11 (IANS) The victory of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM)-backed independent candidate in West Bengal’s Kalchini assembly seat could fan the separatist movement in the northern part of the state, say political leaders and analysts.
Wilson Champamari, supported by the GJM, won Tuesday from the Kalchini assembly constituency in north Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district. The Adivasi Vikas Parishad (AVP) nominee finished second, leaving the more established political parties far behind.

State Public Works Department (PWD) minister and senior Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) leader Kshiti Goswami said Champamari’s victory would consolidate the movement for Gorkhaland and trigger demands for a separate Gorkha state from other parts as well.

“This electoral result will consolidate GJM’s movement for Gorkhaland. Earlier, their demand to include some areas of the plains to their Gorkhaland state was not justified democratically. But now, they will be able to substantiate it saying locals have voted in support of their call.

“So now on they will say people in Dooars also want a separate Gorkhaland state,” Goswami told IANS.

The constituency comprises a large number of tea gardens in the foothills of the Darjeeling Himalayas known as the Dooars.
Added Congress leader Manas Bhuinya: “The Kalchini result is a matter of concern. One should not sit complacent just because the Congress has suffered a loss in Kalchini. Tomorrow the conflict between the hills and the plains may reach whole of Jalpaiguri and the Dooars region. It may endanger the integrity of the whole Bengal.”

“The government should take rectification measures immediately,” the Congress state legislative party leader said.

The GJM was, of course, upbeat.

“The electoral result is for a Gorkhaland state. Thousands of people living in Terai have shown their support in favour of the Gorkhaland call,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told IANS.

“It’ll help us to take the Gorkhaland movement one step forward.”

The GJM has been spearheading the Gorkhaland agitation and has demanded inclusion of the Dooars into its proposed state. The GJM’s demand brought it into conflict with the AVP and the two groups have clashed several times over the past one year.

Political analysts agreed that the electoral result was “very significant”.

“The Kalchini result is very significant. An independent candidate winning from the Dooars with support from the GJM outfit is something to be taken note of,” political scientist Sabyasachi Basu Roychowdhury said.

“In the near or distant future there may be pressure on the present geographical and political boundary of the state (West Bengal).

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