Anit Thapa will have to strike at corruption within GTA: Darjeeling residents

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Kolkata, June 30 (IANS) Anit Thapa and his political outfit, the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM), will have their work cut out to rid the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) of corruption and nepotism, residents of the Hills in north Bengal feel.

Thapa is probably the only politician from the Hills who didn’t make Gorkhaland an issue while contesting the GTA elections. Yet, the BGPM won 28 of the 45 seats. Some Independents are also expected to back the newly-formed political outfit.

After the results were announced, Thapa said that he would work for development of the region. To do this, he will have to end corruption and nepotism. The former Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader also said that a committee would be set up to work towards a separate state of Gorkhaland.

From the start, Thapa had always maintained that the kind of strife the Hills witnessed in the past was not the correct way to go about such a serious matter.

“Anit Thapa does make sense. The committee that he has talked about will comprise members from all sections of society who can create a blueprint before taking up the issue in earnest with the central and state governments. The biggest problem that we face is that there is no person capable enough to lead us even if we do get a separate state of Gorkhaland. Maybe, a new face will emerge during deliberations who would work for the people,” Binay Chhetri, a resident of Darjeeling said.

While the Trinamool Congress that won five of the 10 seats it contested in the GTA elections, has already begun talks with the BGPM, few believe that Thapa will toe the party’s line.

The BGPM will not mind the Trinamool as an ally though as state assistance will be required for smooth running of the GTA that has been a mess over the last several years.

It will be interesting to see what GJM supremo Bimal Gurung does now.

Both the GJM and BJP-Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) combine had boycotted the GTA polls.

With the emergence of leaders like Thapa, will Gurung get sidelined? And what of the BJP that has done well in the Parliamentary and Assembly elections in the Hills in recent years? The next couple of years will be very interesting for politics in the Hills.

–IANS
jayanta/pgh

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