Feud in BJP Darjeeling unit over choice of ‘outsider’ for Lok Sabha 2024 polls

A true ‘son of the hills’ is one who understands the sentiments and aspirations of the common people of the hills, says Kurseong BJP legislator

Bishnu Prasad Sharma (photo: IANS)
Bishnu Prasad Sharma (photo: IANS)
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IANS

Internal rumblings within the BJP over the issue of an “outsider” candidate for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls seem to be taking a serious turn with Kurseong BJP legislator Bishnu Prasad Sharma threatening to field an independent candidate if the party fields an “outsider” in 2024 again.

“We have been electing outsiders for a quarter of a century. First, it was from the Congress and then it was the BJP. But none of them have addressed the real problems in the hills. They get elected and then forget the promises made by them.

“We cannot be mute spectators in the matter any more. If this time, my party fields a ‘son of the hills’ as a candidate I will go all out to get him elected. But if again an ‘outsider’ is fielded, I will be forced to nominate anyone within the party as an independent candidate,” Sharma said on Thursday.

The BJP has been winning from the Darjeeling constituency since 2009, first with Jaswant Singh in 2009, followed by S.S. Ahluwalia in 2014 and finally with the sitting Lok Sabha member Raju Bista in 2019.

Sharma also said that an “outsider” who bought a house in the hills does not become a “son of the hills”. “A true ‘son of the hills’ is one who understands the sentiments and aspirations of the common people of the hills,” he said.

This is not the first time that Sharma has been vocal regarding the “outsider” issue.

In July last year, without naming Bista, he said the poor results of the BJP in the hills in the recent panchayat polls were because of the false promises made by a section of outsiders who had been dumped on the people of the hills.

“Their false promises have ruined the image of the party among the people of the hills. Precisely, that is why I was reluctant to participate in the rural civic body polls,” he said then.

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