Kolkata, March 29: Kalimpong's sitting MLA Harka Bahadur Chettri, who had resigned from Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), is defending his seat as an independent candidate with support from ruling Trinamool Congress.
Chettri has filed his nomination as an independent candidate from Kalimpong seat, where only GJM and two other independents have so far filed their papers. The last date of filing nomination is today. "I have requested all political parties who are against GJM to lend their support to me.
Trinamool was the first one I approached and they have assured me of their support," Chettri said. When contacted, a senior Trinamool leader confirmed that they are supporting Chettri from "outside".
Trinamool had initially announced his name as a party candidate from Kalimpong but now it has been removed from the list. Trinamool is now contesting in 293 out of 294 Assembly constituencies. Stating that there was no question of his joining Trinamool, Chettri said, "Along with my supporters I have already formed my Jan Andolan Party."
"I have to contest as an independent now because the registration of my party is taking time. The registration papers have already been filed with the Election Commission," he said.
Chettri, who had won by around one lakh votes in 2011 Assembly polls, in September last year announced that he was quitting GJM due to "autocratic" attitude of the party leadership. Kalimpong will vote in the second phase of the Assembly polls on April 17.