NEW DELHI: Even while Darjeeling hill areas continue to witness protests for a separate state, the NDA nominee for the Presidential poll Ram Nath Kovind has reportedly been assured of the support of the MLAs of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leading the agitation in North Bengal. The BJP claimed that the three MLAs of the GJM in the West Bengal Assembly will support Kovind, who on Wednesday filed the fourth set on nomination paper on the last date.
“Gorkhas are patriots. They are the backbone of Indian Army and we all know stories of their valour. All claims that they have been incited by outside forces are bogus. The violent agitation in the hills of North Bengal is on account of mishandling by the Mamata Banerjee-led state government,” said Kailash Vijayvargia, the BJP national general secretary.
Meanwhile, the Centre has sought a report from the state government about the violence in Darjeeling and adjoining areas. The BJP continues to maintain that the Trinamool Congress-led state government failed to implement the agreement behind constitution of the Gorkhaland territorial administration.
“As of now the state government has to find a solution to the ongoing agitation, which could be done by talking to the leaders from the hills in North Bengal. The BJP continues to have cordial relations with the GJM, which has assured the party of support of its legislators for Kovind in the Presidential election,” said a senior BJP functionary.
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu submitted fourth set of nomination paper for Kovind, which has been proposed by him and seconded by M Rajamohan Reddy of the YSR Congress. Kovind on June 23 had filed three sets of nomination papers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP patriarchs – L K Advani, M M Joshi, and senior ministers. The Election Commission as per its norms allows a candidate to file a maximum of four sets of nomination papers.