Nepali Topi finds heads of anti-Gorkhaland leaders

Beyond all hustle-bustle in the Darjeeling constituency that is set to go on polls this April 17, it is the customary Nepali Topi that is being flanked by top non-Gorkha leaders whenever they are visiting the constituency for election campaign.

The latest in the dias was famous actor Mithun Chakraborty, Star India Footballer and TMC candidate Bhaichung Bhutia and Mukul Roy, the TMC all India Secretary who flanked the Nepali topi to woe voters of the hills and seek support.

Mithun with Bhaichung at TMC's rally in Darjeeling
Mithun with Bhaichung at TMC’s rally in Darjeeling

With Gorkhas living in the Himalayan belt looking for a way out to separate from Bengal, the use of Nepali Topi this poll season has become a crowd pulling attire for leaders the result of which can be seen only when the counting begins.

The Left front chairman in the district and once the Municipal affairs minister Ashoke Bhattacharya during his hey days also flanked the Nepali Topi whenever he attended a programme in the hills earlier. Following the footsteps it was Jaswant Singh, the BJP parliamentarian who also flanked the same when he campaigned in 2009 for polls. Following the footsteps, the TMC heavyweight and North Bengal Development minister Gautam Deb has also been flanking the Topi ever since he started to visit the hills straight after the TMC came to power in Bengal.

The use of the Topi from all these leaders comes in at a time when Gorkhas, who most wear the same along with their traditional attire Dawra Suruwal , living in India are remarked as people having their roots in Nepal. These Gorkhas have been simultaneously tagged as ‘Foreigners’ and hence fighting for their identity. Interestingly, the leaders donning the topi this election to woe hill voters have been against the division on Bengal.

Subash Ghisingh, the GNLF chief ever since his political debut has attired the topi wherever he goes and now his onetime close aide who ousted him from power in the hills, Bimal Gurung similarly flanks the Nepali Topi most of the time.

Vivek Ghatani – Indian Gorkhs

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