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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Left Front candidates announced... Adivasi Six for Dooars-Terai zone....Cong seeks GJMM support in Hills... Faith in panel, GNLF eyes hills..... .Book of Hira Chhetri released...237 dead in accidents of Sikkim

Morning Headlines:
LF candidates of Darjeeling and Kurseong are K.B.Watar and Deepa Chhetri respectively. Kalimpng candidate is from CPI and yet to be announced.
Girish Kaul and Dr. Sunil Kaul of Kalimpong are safe after the devastating violent earthquake and Tsunami flood.  Both living in different parts of Japan are safe though little damages of their residence and laboratory is reported. Girish is doing business while Dr.Sunil is a scientist.
Advocate Krishna singh of Naya Bazar, Kurseong died in an accident eight others are injured.
Book of Hira Chhetri released
KalimNews: 96th episode of Basibiyalo held in Club Royale, Kalimpong. On the occasion Dr.Gokul Sinha released 2nd and revised edition of a historical book of Hira Chhetri "Bharateli Nepali patra patrikako satabdi 1887--1986". The book prescribed in the curriculum of Universities of Benaras, Sikkim and North Bengal as a reference book was published by Charitra Prakrashan. Hira Chhetri is an eminent writer satirical composer of Nepali literary society and a journalist. He is attached with several organisations including Kalimpong Press Club, KalimNews, Dainandini News Channel, Charitra Prakashan, Kumudini Pariwar and several others.
Eminent Nepali writers of Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Siliguri and Sikkim were also present in the programme. 
CPRM is in favour of consensus candidate in assembly polls.
GJM organised a rally and sit in draw demonstration in New Delhi. The 7 km rally started from Rajghat concluded with sit in draw demonstration in Jantar Mantar. Thousands of GJM supporters from Delhi, UP, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Darjeeling, Sikkim and North East Manipur, Nagaland and Assam, participated in the demonstration led by Jaswant Singh and Asha Gurung wife of Bimal Gurung GJM Chief and Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh leaders.

237 dead in accidents of Sikkim 
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Gangtok, March 13: Altogether 237 persons lost their lives and some 1000 persons have sustained injuries of various degrees during road related mishaps in Sikkim during the past three years as per the data tabulated by the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of the State transport department.
The road accidents graph for Sikkim resembles a see-saw with 198 road mishaps in 2008 which skyrocketed to 564 in 2009 before coming down to a sober 186.
According to the MVD data, 79 persons were killed during the 198 road accidents in Sikkim in 2008. The road mishaps shot to 564 in 2009 where 87 persons were killed. The situation improved in 2010 with road accidents
dropping down to 186 killing 71 persons. Around 1000 people sustained minor to grievous injuries during this 3-years period.

As the MVD officials here point out, driving in hills is a challenge and the accidents are usually attributed to the complex topography of the region with sharp turns. There is no cushion as in the plains here and a slip in concentration of the driver is enough to send the vehicle crashing down the hills.
“Driving in hills is a difficult task. One needs to even more cautious, alert and experienced to drive in the hills unlike in the plains due to the complex topography of the region. Since the roads in the hills are designed differently, drivers suffer more fatigue due to excessive maneuvering of the vehicles”, said senior RTO PK Basnett.
Faith in panel, GNLF eyes hills
TT, Siliguri, March 13: Pitching its faith behind the Election Commission's assurance that a level-playing field would be provided in the Assembly elections, the GNLF is ready to fight for the three seats in the Darjeeling hills.
A section of the leadership of the party that had recently reorganised its Kurseong unit said it was now waiting for final instructions from chief Subash Ghisingh.
Ghisingh, who spearheaded a violent movement for Gorkhaland in the 1980s, was driven out of the hills along with other party leaders after a Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha member died of bullet injuries on July 25, 2008. The bullet was allegedly fired from the house of GNLF Darjeeling branch president Deepak Gurung.
The death sparked widespread arsons across the hills as Morcha supporters targeted houses and vehicles belonging to GNLF leaders.
“Considering the present state of affairs in the hills, we cannot deny that that GNLF has lost its previous glory. To prove its relevance in hill politics and its support base once more, the party has no other options left but to contest the Assembly elections,” a party source said.
Since the renewal of the Gorkhaland movement in 2007 by the Bimal Gurung-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, the GNLF has become a virtual non-entity in the hills
“After going through the strong directives of the Election Commission, we are expecting the polls to be free and fair and no single party will not be able to get a walkover in all the seats. This prompted us to decide to contest the upcoming poll,” said Balkrishna Sharma, one of the ad hoc members of the GNLF’s Kurseong branch committee.
Sharma, however, could not identify any of the prospective candidates nor could he say when they would start campaigning. Party sources said functionaries have been holding closed-door meetings in rural areas.
The party had won from Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong in 2006 by huge margins. But soon after the emergence of the Morcha, Darjeeling and Kalimpong MLAs Pranai Rai and Gaulan Lepcha were forced to resign from the GNLF. However, Shanta Chhetri, the Kurseong MLA, still remains loyal to the GNLF.
Chhetri, who has not been able to return to her Kurseong home, adopted a cautious note when asked about her party’s plans for elections.
“I cannot say whether the party will contest the Assembly polls. If we get instructions from our party president, I will be able to tell you about our plans,” Chhetri said over the phone from Calcutta.

Adivasi Six for Dooars-Terai zone

TT, Jaigaon, March 13: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad will contest from six Assembly seats in the Dooars and Terai with the support of the Congress. The candidates will be finalised by March 18 on the basis of feedback on probable names from Parishad members at the grassroots level.
State general secretary of the outfit Tezkumar Toppo said Parishad members today endorsed the deal struck with the Congress. The announcement was made after a three-hour meeting between the Parishad team that met senior Congress leaders in Delhi last week and about 300 members at Banarhat this afternoon.
Not that the decision was unanimous. Raju Bara, the convener of the Parishad’s election core committee, resigned from his post today, saying he did not like the manner in which the alliance was forged.
“I had a disagreement with our state general secretary yesterday over the issue and I have decided to resign from the election committee. I sent my letter (my resignation) through my supporters to the Banarhat meeting which I will not attend,” said Raju Bara, without elaborating what the differences were. Toppo, however, denied having received the resignation letter. He said the Congress had been told that the outfit would field candidates in Kalchini, Kumargram, Madarihat, Nagrakata, Malbazar and Phansidewa, all reserved for the ST category.
Of the six seats, only Kalchini had been wrested by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-supported Wilson Chompromary in the 2009 by-election. The rest are with the Left Front. The tribals are in a majority in the region.
“We discussed the talks we had with Pranab Mukherjee, Ahmed Patel and other Congress leaders. All (our members) were in agreement regarding the understanding,” Toppo said.
On March 8, the Parishad, during its initial round of talks with Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, had demanded a written assurance from the Congress that it would work for Sixth Schedule status for the Terai-Dooars region as soon as the polls were over.
However, the next day, Union finance minister Mukherjee convinced the tribal leaders that an agreement could not be inked as it would violate the model code of conduct. The Congress would, instead, mention the Adivasi demand in its election manifesto.
Toppo said the Parishad’s block-level units had been asked to come up with names of possible candidates. “We have made it clear that these persons should be honest, hardworking and socially committed,” Toppo said.
Jalpaiguri district Congress president Mohan Bose said he would say nothing about the Parishad and his party’s alliance. “Our state president Manas Bhuniya will come to the district soon and he will make the announcements,” Bose said.
Seats lost, ministers K&K migrate north Jogesh dropped from fray
TT, March 13: Two cabinet ministers of the outgoing Left Front government have been forced to migrate north to be candidates in North Dinajpur and Jalpaiguri districts after their constituencies in the south ceased to exist following delimitation.
Public works minister Kshiti Goswami, bereft of the Dhakuria constituency in the heart of Calcutta that has been split to merge with Kasba and Ballygunge, has decided to contest from Alipurduar — a safe RSP seat for the Left Front.
Goswami replaces the RSP’s Nirmal Das, who first won in 1989 and has been returned as the MLA from Alipurduar since then.
Kiranmoy Nanda of the Socialist Party, who has been the fisheries minister since 1982, will fight from Raiganj, which is currently with the Congress. In 2006, the Left had supported Dilip Das of the NCP in Raiganj. Nanda makes his shift from Mugberia in East Midnapore. The constituency has been split into three, merging with Contai, Egra and Nandanpur — areas where the anti-Left wind has been blowing since the panchayat polls in 2008.
For the past year or so, Nanda has been visiting Raiganj very frequently. “The local CPM, too, had failed to select a suitable candidate and send a name to the Left Front. Nanda has been camping here frequently and has also been distributing houses to the people who depend on fisheries for livelihood in the constituency,” an observer said.
The North Dinajpur district secretary of the Socialist Party, Arun Dey, said Nanda had distributed about 1,800 homes, funded tubewells and given loans to women under fisheries department schemes in the rural belt of the Raiganj constituency. “He has been visiting the constituency at least five days a month for the past year and we will ensure that he does well in the polls,” Dey said.
In Alipurduar, Goswami’s nomination has been fraught with intra-party squabbles with local RSP supporters not willing to allow an “outsider” to replace Das.
In fact, on March 5, about a dozen youths had ransacked the RSP office in Alipurduar, resulting in the expulsion of two party members and three members of its youth wing, the Revolutionary Youth Front.
Das, who is stepping aside for Goswami, said as a RSP state committee member, he had endorsed the decision of the party. “Kshitida is one of our front-ranking leaders in the state and I am with the party in allowing him to contest from Alipurduar.” In 2006, Das had won by over 38,000 votes.
In the north, the Left Front has dropped only one minister — Jogesh Barman from his Falakata (SC) seat. The prominent others who will remain in the fray are urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya in Siliguri, forest minister Ananta Roy (Mathabhanga), jails minister Biswanath Chowdhury (Balurghat) and environment minister Sailen Sarkar (Ratua).
In the hills, K.B. Wattar, a CPM district secretariat member, will be fielded from Darjeeling while a new face, Dipa Chhetri, will fight from Kurseong. Dipa, 35, is not new to elections as she had won as a gram panchayat member as a CPM candidate in 2000.
Wattar, 56, has contested from Darjeeling twice in the past. The Left Front will later announce the Kalimpong candidate, which will be from the CPI.
Cong seeks GJMM support in Hills
SNS, SILIGURI, 13 MARCH: In an interesting development, seemingly fraught with political import, the Darjeeling district Congress (Hills) has decided to seek support from the GJMM for the three Assembly seats in the Darjeeling Hills, in case the Hills-based party would decide not to contest on its own.
The Darjeeling district Congress (Hills) president, Mr KB Chettri, today said: “We have heard that the GJMM would not contest the elections. If they do not take part in the elections we will ask the GJMM president, Mr Bimal Gurung to support to us.”
Asked what they would do in case the GJMM insisted on the Congress's support for Gorkhaland, Mr Chettri said that his party would then ask the party High Command to clear its stance on the issue. Mr Chettri, who was also former Darjeeling MP, said that the GJMM would be left with no other option but to support the Congress in case of their non-participation in the election. “The BJP has no base in the Hills.
Being a national party with deep roots in the Hills, the Congress deserves the GJMM support. We are sure to sweep the election in case the GJMM extends support to us. A cooperation involving the two parties would prove good for the Hills in the long run,” Mr Chettri said. The Darjeeling district Congress (Hills) committee would hold a meeting in Kurseong on 17 March to review the political situation in the Darjeeling Hills.
“We might select the candidates for the three Assembly seats in the Hills that day,” the veteran Hill Congress leader said.
“We have already sent two names for Kurseong, two for Darjeeling and three for Kalimpong Assembly constituencies to the state party leadership. We might change the candidates in case the GJMM gives nod to our proposal. The new candidates would be selected in consultation with the GJMM leadership,” he said. Notably, Mr Chettri and other leaders from the Hills had met the Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and Union home minister, Mr P Chidambaram, on 1 March.
They are understood to have apprised them of the developments related to the Sipchu firing. Significantly, the Hill Congress delegation supported the GJMM demand for a CBI probe into the police firing.

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