In the second phase of the Lok Sabha Polls, three districts of North Bengal --- Jalpaiguri, Raiganj and Darjeeling --- will go to polls on Thursday. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress is facing a tough competition from the BJP this time. In 2014, the Trinamool had recorded its best-ever performance in the last Lok Sabha election as it swept 34 of the 42 seats, while the BJP made impressive inroads winning two seats. The Congress won four seats and the CPI(M)-led Left Front managed to win only two seats in its worst-ever showing in a Lok Sabha election. Darjeeling seat was held by the BJP’s SS Ahluwalia. However, the BJP decided to drop him because of his extreme unpopularity in the area.
Traditionally, the sensitive Darjeeling seat is won by the party that gets the support of the dominant hill party. The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) had supported the Congress or the CPM, and the BJP had won the seat the last two times with the support of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). The voters of Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kurseong Assembly segment and the plains of Siliguri decided the fate of this seat.
However, this time things are different. The politics in the Hills has taken a curious turn after Bimal Gurung escaped to evade arrest. Binay Tamang, who is currently head of GJM is pro-Mamata and Amar Singh Rai, who is MLA from GJM from Darjeeling Assembly seat, is contesting on a TMC ticket. has lent his support to BJP's Raju Bista. GNLF burying their hatchet with Bimal Gurung is also supporting Bista.
Congress candidate Shankar Malakar and CPI(M)'s Saman Pathak can hope to get a getting decent tractions in the Assembly segments of Matigara- Naalbari, Siliguri, Phansidewa, Chopra, however, the Hills will be prove to be a dampner.