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New Dawn In Darjeeling: Recent Developments Hint At Flourishing Of Multi-party Politics In The Hills

With two new parties sweeping polls on development planks instead of demand for statehood, older forces are having it tough

Development pitch: Gorkhaland activists at a protest Photo: Getty Images

For decades, thousands of tourists to Dar­jeeling have woken up in the wee hours to hurriedly reach the sunrise viewpoint at nearby Tiger Hill and witness the spectacle of the morning sun paint rainbow colours on the fabled Kanchenjunga, the wor­ld’s third-highest peak. But for years, the peo­ple of Darjeeling have been kept waiting for a new dawn in local politics. Caught between a desire for planned development, ethnic pre­s­tige, the demand for statehood and the alleged authoritarianism of the hilly region’s political forces, the ‘Queen of the Hills’ has been a deeply-troubled land for years.

But recent developments indicate that a new dawn might not be far away. Two new political parties, launched less than a year ago, have tak­en effective control of Darjeeling’s political administration. Observers feel it will lead to a pha­­se of Calcutta-Darjeeling cooperation and flourishing of multi-party politics in the hills.

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