Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, July 1: The Trinamul (Hills) president today hinted that the state was planning to hold the panchayat elections in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration area by the end of this year.

Although the state Election Commission has not made any announcement regarding the polls, Rajen Mukhia, the president, TMC (Hills), said: “I am hopeful that the panchayat election, even if it is for two tiers will take place in October-November this year.”

The last time the hill rural polls were held in 2000.

Although the Centre, state and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had agreed to hold the three-tier rural polls in the GTA area in 2011, it was not held as a constitutional amendment is needed to start the process.

As of now, the Constitution has a provision to hold a two-tier panchayat elections in the hills – the gram panchayat and the panchayat samity.

Today, Mukhia said: “I was told to take charge of TMC (Hills) for the second term yesterday. I will try my best to justify the faith reposed on me by the leadership. We will take part in all three elections – panchayat, municipality and the GTA – and we are confident of doing well.”

Trinamul sources said Mukhia’s confidence about the poll timing comes after getting strong indications from the party leadership. “He will not speak with such confidence unless he has been given a strong hint,” said a source.

Mukhia added that new committees at all levels – from district to panchayat – would be formed in the next two weeks. “The party expects results from us and we must deliver. We are very clear that only those leaders who perform will get a place in the new committees. … Those who do not perform or are not active in the party will have to sit out irrespective of seniority,” he said.

A source said Trinamul was eager to contest the elections in the hills after its performance in the Assembly polls.

While elections to the four hill municipalities – Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik – are due later this year, the GTA polls are scheduled for July next year.

A Morcha leader refused comment on Mukhia’s statement. “We would not like to react unless it is discussed in a party meeting.”