BJP's Kurseong MLA to contest as Independent against party's LS nominee

Bishnu Prasad Sharma says he do not intend to sever ties with the party on his own

BJP's nominee Raju Bista (photo: @RajuBistaBJP/X)
BJP's nominee Raju Bista (photo: @RajuBistaBJP/X)


BJP's Kurseong MLA Bishnu Prasad Sharma on Monday, 25 March, announced that he would contest as an Independent candidate in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat against the party's nominee Raju Bista.

Sharma, while speaking to PTI over the phone, said he would remain within the BJP while contesting as an Independent and the party can take any disciplinary action it desires but he does not intend to sever ties with the party on his own.

"Bista is not my candidate. We do not want an outsider. It is unfortunate that the BJP could not find any 'Bhumi Putra' (son of the soil)," Sharma said.

He said this was the fourth time that a person not hailing from the Darjeeling hills was nominated by the BJP, and such candidates "do not raise the real issues of the people".

"This is a slap on the face of the 17 lakh voters of Darjeeling hills," he added.

The BJP MLA from Kurseong, who is a vocal supporter of the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland, highlighted the historical success of the BJP in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat since 2009.

However, he criticised the party for consistently selecting candidates with no ties to the Darjeeling hills.

Reacting to the development, BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, "The decision to re-nominate Raju Bista is final and the party is unified over the matter. Bista will win the polls with a bigger margin."

He, however, refused to comment on Sharma's decision to contest as an Independent candidate.

While the demand for Gorkhaland dates back over a century, the statehood movement gained momentum in 1986 under Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) leader Subhash Ghisingh.

The movement resulted in numerous deaths and culminated in 1988 with the formation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. The region witnessed several bouts of violent agitations thereafter, with the latest being a 104-day-long shutdown in 2017.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines