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Edwards stance may affect GNLF position in Hills

Political observers feel that this development could make a sizeable dent in the support base of the party, with Mr Edwards being one of the prominent faces of the GNLF.

Statesman News Service | Darjeeling/Kurseong |

Differences of opinion that have surfaced between influential Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) leader Ajoy Edwards and the party’s president, Mann Ghisingh, could have a substantial effect on the political party’s future, leaders and political observers have said.

With news of Edwards possibly quitting the GNLF doing the rounds for a while now, his fallout with the party president and a friend for 35 years was made evident yesterday when a voice message of Edwards surfaced, where he
has claimed that Mr Ghisingh had betrayed him.

In the voice message that went viral on social media, Mr Edwards has levelled various allegations against the GNLF president, and claimed that he had been “used and thrown away.” “I have not rejected the GNLF, but it is the other way round… I have no problems with the party, but with its president who betrayed me,” Mr Edwards says in the audio clip.

Political observers feel that this development could make a sizeable dent in the support base of the party, with Mr Edwards being one of the prominent faces of the GNLF.

“The differences between Mr Edwards and the party had been brewing for some time, and even during the MLA elections when Neeraj Zimba was chosen as the candidate over Mr Edwards, and which was against popular demand from their supporters as well,” an observer said.

Mr Edwards, who is known for his social work, however, hinted that he would not leave politics. While most political parties did not want to comment on the development, maintaining that it was the GNLF’s internal matter, the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha-2 claimed that Mr Edwards allegations made it clear that the party was more concerned about money than the issues of the Hill people.

“Raju Bista was an MP bought as a package deal. Their alliance group had made him the MP for money and not for the issue of the people, which Edwards’ voice message proves. The dreams of the people have been exchanged for money and this is all clear by the statement that Edwards has given,” said GJM-2 leader Keshav Raj Pokhrel.

Meanwhile, during a programme in Kurseong, Darjeeling’s BJP MLA, Neeraj Zimba, doubted the authenticity of the audio clip and said it was too early to comment on the matter. “Not only this, the party is yet to receive any official statement from Ajay Edwards,” said Mr Zimba, a GNLF leader, who contested the last MLA elections on a BJP ticket.