Vivek Chhetri,TT, Darjeeling, May 20: In a span of five years, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s winning margin has come down by more than 50 per cent but the party says its not unduly worried.
“Whether we win by one vote or by one lakh votes, an election win is a win,” said Morcha president Bimal Gurung.
The three Morcha candidates, Amar Singh Rai from Darjeeling, Rohit Sharma from Kurseong and Sarita Rai from Kalimpong, definitely won their seats by more than one vote, but five year backs, the party had won each seat by one-lakh margin.
In 2011, Trilok Dewan of the Morcha led GNLF’s Bhim Subba in Darjeeling by 1,0,655 votes. Dewan had polled 1,20,532 votes against the GNLF’s 13,977. In Kalimpong, Harka Bahadur Chhetri of the Morcha had polled 1,09,102 votes, while his nearest rival, Prakash Dahal of the GNLF, could garner 7,427 votes.
The situation was slightly better for the GNLF in Kurseong, with Pemu Chhetri polling 21,201 votes. But even this could not save her from forfeiting her deposit of Rs 10,000. Rohit Sharma of the Morcha had polled 1, 14,297 votes.
This year, the Morcha won Darjeeling by 49,913 votes, Kurseong by 33,726 votes and Kalimpong by 11, 431 votes.
The victory margin dropped by nearly 90 per cent in Kalimpong. “This is not 2011 and anti-incumbency has definitely come into play,” said a Morcha leader.
Right from 2014 Lok Sabha election, consolidation of opposition votes had started. In the Parliament elections, the GNLF had joined hands with the Trinamul Congress similar to this year, and Mahendra P. Lama, who is now with the Jana Andolan Party, was also in the fray.
In 2014, the anti-Morcha votes were 52,629 in Darjeeling, 42,788 in Kalimpong and 62,473 in Kurseong, taking the total number in the hills to 1,57,890. This year, the total anti-Morcha votes cast in the three Assembly segments was 1,94,699. The votes cast in favour of Morcha in the three seats, this year, was 2,50,026.
“This year, we had to brave everything, right from consolidation of opposition votes to support from development boards and then the use of district demand for Kalimpong against us. In the coming elections, these calculations will not hold true as election equations will be different,” said Gurung.
He said: “We will, however, do all that is needed to address the grievances of the public even if that means making changes in the leadership.”
The Morcha will have to face the civic polls later this year and the all-important GTA elections in July next year. “Four issues were instrumental in bringing the victory margin down. While anti-incumbency factor is one reason, the other reasons were formation of development boards, consolidation of opposition votes and the district issue in Kalimpong,” said an observer.