Lost voters on Rai priority list

http://www.telegraphindia.com
VIVEK CHHETRI

Darjeeling, May 11: Urban Darjeeling had wanted a change, but rural voters reaffirmed their faith in Subash Ghisingh, ensuring an easy victory for the GNLF in the hills.

Of the 32 wards here, the PDF — the anti-Ghisingh coalition — won in more than 22-odd wards. This, despite the fact that the GNLF is the majority in the Darjeeling municipality.

In 2001, the GNLF had led by over 45,000 votes in Darjeeling but with the urban population wanting a change this time, the margin has been reduced to 22,010 votes.

Ghisingh’s party was, however, quick to admit its loss of urban voters.

“One of my first priorities will be to look into the grievances of voters, whom we have failed. Definitely we did not fare as expected in the municipality areas, but I hope to win over the urban voters with my devotion in the days to come,” said Pranay Rai, the winning candidate.

He maintained that the popularity of Ghisingh and the GNLF had not been affected despite the hype of the Opposition. “The elections were strict and fair and the results show that the GNLF is still the people’s party. There is a tendency among urban voters to believe every propaganda of every party, but at the end it is clear that the Opposition failed to convince all of them,” said Rai.

The results also show that the PDF has virtually little organisational set-up in rural areas as a result of which, it could not cash in on the anti-incumbency factor.

“The absence of proper set-up did hit the Opposition in the end. I would, however, like to thank people for voting me,” said Amar Lama, the PDF candidate from Darjeeling.

In Kurseong and Kalimpong, the voting pattern remained the same. Gaulan Lepcha retained the Kalimpong Assembly while Shanta Chhetri (GNLF) won the Kurseong seat for the third consecutive time.

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