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About turn on special status MoS
- GNLF wants to do away with all reservations

Darjeeling, Nov. 2: The GNLF has decided to demand the scrapping of all reservations in the 28-member body proposed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

This is a complete turnaround from the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) on the Sixth Schedule signed by Subash Ghisingh, the state and the Centre, on the reservation issue on December 6 last year. The move comes a year after all parties had agreed to the settlement.

The MoS had, under article 7.2.2 of the agreement, laid down provisions for reserving 10 seats for tribals, 15 for non-tribals and three seats for other communities in the new council. Apart from the 28 elected representatives, the governor could nominate five members from the unrepresented community. All 33 members of the new council — Gorkha Hill Council, Darjeeling — were to have voting rights.

“The branch committee today passed a resolution demanding that there should be no reservations in the councils and that all the 28 seats should be made open for all communities. Also the five nominated members should not have any voting rights,” said Deepak Gurung, the president of the party’s Darjeeling branch committee.

A similar resolution was also adopted by the GNLF branch committees in Kalimpong and Kurseong and the presidents of the three units submitted the resolution to Ghisingh today asking him to pursue the matter with the two governments.

The GNLF move is being seen as a ploy to appease the predominant non-tribal communities which constitute about 68 per cent of the hill population. The non-tribals were feeling that they were being made minorities vis-à-vis the reservation policy in the new dispensation. This is because tribals, who constitute only about 32 per cent, were given 10 seats against only 15 to the non-tribals. The move is also aimed at negating the demand for adequate reservation by the Scheduled Caste.

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