The Telegraph
Tuesday , April 1 , 2014
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Lama rider for BJP support

Kalimpong, March 31: Darjeeling Lok Sabha Independent candidate Mahendra P. Lama today said he would extend support to the BJP if the party’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi gave a written commitment stating that a separate state of Gorkhaland would be created within six months of his coming to power.

Speaking at an interactive session at the Town Hall here, Lama said: “When the Telangana Bill was introduced in Parliament, the BJP did not speak a word in favour of Gorkhaland. The Telangana Bill would not have been passed without the support of the NDA. ...I will extend my support to the BJP if the party’s prime ministerial candidate gives in writing to create a separate state within six months of coming to power.”

The event was organised by the Darjeeling-Dooars United Development Fund. Lama is the founder president of the apolitical organisation.

The BJP has fielded S.S. Ahluwalia, a national vice-president of the party, from Darjeeling and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is backing him.

Lama, the former vice-chancellor of Sikkim University, said the BJP MP from Darjeeling, Jaswant Singh, had told him during a meeting in Delhi in August last year that his party was not in favour of Gorkhaland. “The second thing he told me was that ‘my party would not even want to hear the word Gorkhaland. If I were to raise the issue in Lok Sabha, I will be ousted from the party for the second time’. I felt sad,” Lama said.

Singh was recently sacked from the BJP for the second time after he decided to contest as an Independent from Barmer in Rajasthan.

Yesterday, Morcha chief Bimal Gurung had sought Lama’s support for Ahluwalia to ensure that the hill votes were not divided. Ahluwalia had sought support from the CPRM, which chose to back Lama.