Kolkata, June 26 : The polls for the formation of the new board of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) witnessed lack of public response on Sunday with the polling percentage being recorded just around 57 per cent.
As per the State Election Commission, this was the lowest polling percentage in any of the polls for formation of civic bodies in West Bengal.
The polls for GTA were conducted on Sunday after a gap of 10 years.There were a lot of chaos since the State Election Commission announced the dates for elections for GTA.
A number of hill-based parties boycotted the polls.
Even the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) went to the extent of approaching the Calcutta High Court with the demand of postponing the elections, which was finally turned down by a single- judge bench of the court.
However, the heat in the preparatory process in the polls was not evident on Sunday when the actual polling was taking place, as voters in general preferred enjoying the rain-soaked weather in the hills instead of travelling to the polling booths.
There were reports of poll- related violence on Sunday and those who went for casting the votes did that in a rather festive mood.
A total 277 candidates contested in the GTA polls on Sunday, out of whom 169 were independent candidates.
Conclusion of the GTA polls was extremely crucial for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, as political observers feel that formation of the new GTA board will push back the resurrection of agitation in the hills in demand for a separate Gorkhaland state or permanent political solution in the hills.
According to political observers, barring this point, the state of West Bengal’s ruling party in the GTA hills is almost nil as their leadership is also aware of the fact that they do not have that necessary organisational strength in the hills.
Trinamool Congress’ only aim is to keep the political forces divided on the issue of permanent political solution and formation of the new GTA board is absolutely necessary for that.
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