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.