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Siliguri: Binay Tamang-led faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has announced support for the Trinamool in the upcoming Panchayat elections in May.

The move bears special significance as the arrangement is likely to be continued for next year’s Lok Sabha polls as well unless there is a significant negative signal from Nepali-speaking voters in Darjeeling Hills and the Dooars. In the 2009 and 2014 LS polls, GJM had backed the BJP.

The announcement to support Trinamool in the Panchayat elections came today following a meeting of GJM’s central core committee at Bagrakote Chunabhati in the Dooars.

Some 40-odd central committee members, including Tamang, Anit Thapa, and Kurseong MLA Rohit Sharma, were present in the meeting but not a single one from the party’s Dooars unit. The Dooars unit, which still sides with fugitive GJM leader Bimal Gurung, had yesterday unilaterally announced support for the BJP.

“The central and core committee of GJM held a threadbare discussion and it has been decided that GJM will support Trinamool candidates in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts. In seats where there are no Trinamool candidates, GJM will field its own candidates, who will contest as Independents,” party spokesperson Suraj Chhetri told reporters.

Chhetri added that GJM will depute a four-member team from Darjeeling Hills to Dooars to oversee the arrangement with Trinamool. They will come over to Dooars in a day or two.

Kurseong MLA Sharma said that since the state government is extending help to the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), GJM has reciprocated by backing Trinamool in the Panchayat elections.