regular-article-logo Sunday, 04 June 2023

BJP MLA prods MP on statehood bill

Bista, speaking in Parliament requested Centre’s immediate intervention to ensure that PPS is implemented urgently

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 14.02.23, 04:25 AM
Raju Bista (left); B.P. Sharma

Raju Bista (left); B.P. Sharma File picture

BJP MLA from Kurseong B.P. Sharma said he requested BJP MP from Darjeeling Raju Bista to place a private member bill in Parliament for creation of the state of Gorkhaland as the issue has not moved forward since 2019.

Sharma has been vocal on the statehood issue but this is the first time that he has asked his own party colleague to place a private member bill, obliquely expressing his disenchantment with the BJP at a time when the Lok Sabha elections are just a year away.


“I did not speak in the last four years as the promise (to come up with a permanent political solution) has been made in the Sankalp Patra (BJP manifesto). However, in the last four years, our issue has not gone anywhere,” Sharma said.

Expressing doubt on the party’s intention for Darjeeling, Bajgain said there were only three more sessions — ongoing budget, monsoon and winter — before the term of the present central government comes to an end.

“Hence, on January 13, 2023, I wrote a letter to our beloved MP Raju Bista stating the party might have difficulties (in placing a bill) but since the MP is (from) our people he should place a private member bill (for Gorkhaland),” said Sharma.

A private member bill is one introduced by a member who is not a minister in the government. Such bills are not always supported by the ruling party even if the private member happens to be from the ruling party or coalition.

The BJP MLA cited an example and said that on July 8, 1986, a Lok Sabha legislator Tilak Raj Singh had placed a private member bill to create the state of Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand came into being in 2000.

“Even the recognition of Nepali language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution came after Dil Kumari Bhandari (an MP from Sikkim) placed a private member bill during the budget session and it was discussed and passed during the monsoon session in 1992,” said Sharma, who added it would be difficult to ask for votes if no concrete steps were taken by the BJP.

The hills have voted for BJP since 2009. The BJP said it was committed to finding a permanent political solution for the hills, which many in the region interpret as Gorkhaland.

The other promise made by the BJP in the 2019 manifesto was to grant tribal status to 11 Gorkha communities.

A detailed reaction to the MLA’s statement could not be obtained from Bista as the Darjeeling MP said he was still in Parliament late in the evening.

Bista, speaking in Parliament on Monday, however, requested the Centre’s immediate intervention to ensure that PPS is implemented urgently.

“The PPS should be derived from the Constitution of India, respecting our region and national security needs, and should fulfil the aspirations of the people from Darjeeling hills, Terai and the Dooars,” said the Darjeeling MP, who also added that the Darjeeling region was always governed as a separate administration unit.

Bista also demanded in Parliament that a three-tier panchayat system be implemented in Darjeeling hills.

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