Limboos up ante on Sikkim House quota
The patience of the Limboo community with the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha clearly appears to be wearing thin nearly a year-and-a-half after being influential in voting chief minister P. S. Tamang (Golay)’s party to power in the state.
Days after a nascent organisation of the Limboos and Tamangs upped the ante on the reservation of seats for the two communities in the Assembly, the Sukhim Yakthung Sapsok Songchumbho (SYSS), which espouses the Limboo cause, too, lend its voice, placing a host of demands before the government in addition to the Assembly quota.
In a memorandum submitted to the chairman of Sikkim Scheduled Tribes Welfare Board, Prem Kumar Limboo, in Gangtok on Wednesday, the SYSS also demanded reservation of seats for the Limboos and Tamangs in the urban and rural local bodies.
“We are hopeful that the due Constitutional rights of the Limboos and Tamangs will be fulfilled by the SKM government soon, given the promise to this effect made by the party in its election manifesto,” Gulshan Limboo, the SYSS secretary, told The Telegraph.
Asked if the organisation had set any timeframe for the government, Limboo replied in the negative. “We will talk to other like-minded organisations and decide on the next course of action (in the event there is no positive response from the government),” Limboo added.
The Limboos and Tamangs were given Scheduled Tribe status in 2003, but are yet to be granted reservation of seats in the Assembly as mandated by Article 332 of the Constitution. An organisation of the two communities had approached the Supreme Court on the issue in January 2019, and the matter remains pending.
The SKM had vowed to deliver Assembly quota to the Limboos and Tamangs within 100 days of coming to power, but is yet to spell out its formula, unlike the opposition Sikkim Democratic Front.
The SDF, when it was power, had suggested to the Centre to increase the strength of the Sikkim Assembly from the present 32 to 40, and reserve five seats for the Limboos and Tamangs.
At present, 12 seats are reserved for the Bhutias and Lepchas, two for the Scheduled Castes and one for the sangha, which is a body of monks.
Analysts said the Limboos seemed to be losing patience with the SKM government.
“Look, the SKM had promised to reserve Assembly seats to the two communities within days of coming to power. Forget delivering on its promise, the party has not even spelled out how it plans to go about the job. This raising of the ante by the Limboo lobby clearly suggests its impatience,” said an analyst.
Limboos are the predominant community in West Sikkim. Out of the eight Assembly seats in the West district, the Limboo vote plays a decisive role in six. In the 2019 Assembly elections, the SKM had won six seats from the area, which was largely responsible for the party to pip the SDF by 17 to 15 seats and come to power.
Similarly, the Pawan Chamling-led SDF had swept the entire eight seats in 2014 to retain power for the record fifth consecutive term.
The other demands of the SYSS are 15 per cent reservation in jobs for the Limboos and Tamangs according to the proportion of population, early completion of incomplete Limboo projects, inclusion of Limboo Language in state eligibility test and declaration of Yumaism as religion of the Limboo tribe, among others.