KOLKATA: Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung’s exit from the NDA and his announcement to support CM Mamata Banerjee in the Assembly polls have forced the BJP to re-work on its poll strategy in north Bengal.
BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and state leaders met Union Home minister Amit Shah on Saturday and discussed issues like Gorkhas and tea garden workers to retain the party’s inroads made in the 2019 general elections elections.
The GJM is a deciding factor in at least 16 Assembly seats in Darjeeling and Terai region including Madarihat, Kalchini, Matigara-Naxalbari and Nagrakata. In these seats, the Gorkhas could turn the table for any political party.
Gurung’s support to Mamata is believed be a relief for the ruling Trinamool Congress as the party failed to bag a single seat out of eight in the region in 2019. The BJP secured victory in seven seats and the Congress in one.
"Anything can happen in politics. Such alliances and re-alliances cannot be predicted. Still we have six months in hand before the Assembly elections," BJP’s Alipurduar MP John Barla said.
Sources in the BJP said, issues faced by the tribals and their demands were discuused in the meeting with Shah.
“We also discussed about the demand of giving 11 left out Gorkha communities a ST status, minimum wages for tea garden workers and issuing of land documents to the tribals,’’ said a BJP leader.