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BGPM chief Anit Thapa chides Kalimpong civic head over remark on upkeep of martyrs' column

'You have to take responsibility, everything is under you and hence, what you said is not right,' said Thapa

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 28.07.23, 07:47 AM
Anit Thapa

Anit Thapa File picture

Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) president Anit Thapa on Thursday publicly reprimanded Kalimpong municipal chief Rabi Pradhan for his statement on the upkeep of the martyrs' column in the town.

Pradhan, who is the chairman of the board of administrators at the municipality, also belongs to the BGPM. Thapa and Pradhan were present at a programme organised by the BGPM in Kalimpong to pay homage to Gorkhaland martyrs.


Municipal elections are due in Kalimpong and Pradhan is eyeing the post of chairman again.

Speaking at the programme in the martyrs’ column, 11 Mile, Pradhan stressed the need to beautify the spot. Pradhan said he was addressing the crowd on behalf of the “families of the martyrs”.

“The infrastructure at the Sahid Bedi can be improved. Its security can be improved. Tourists might then visit the place. Right now, none visits this place, except on Martyrs’ Day. The youngsters using WhatsApp do not even know where the memorial is situated,” said Pradhan.

He added that a well-kept and clean martyrs’ column and the surrounding park would be an honour for the martyrs’ family members.

“Many of the martyrs’ families are not financially strong. I request Anit Thapa jiu and Ruden Lepcha jiu to ensure that they get two square meals a day,” said Pradhan.

BGPM insiders said there was a cold war between Pradhan and Kalimpong MLA Ruden Sada Lepcha. By virtue of their posts, Pradhan and Lepcha are the most prominent BGPM leaders in Kalimpong district. Lepcha was also present at the programme.

Thapa, who addressed the gathering after Pradhan, disapproved of the Kalimpong civic head's remarks.

“Rabi bhai spoke about keeping the martyrs' column in better condition. He spoke on behalf of the martyrs, but he should also speak as the chairman. You have to take responsibility, everything is under you and hence, what you said is not right....," said Thapa.

Thapa added: “You (Pradhan) have to take responsibility and if you are saying that the place is not clean, then, you are saying, ‘I failed’.”

Sources said the martyrs’ column was under the tourism department of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), whose chief executive is Thapa.

Thapa said there might be lacunae on the GTA’s part, but “everyone must unite and take responsibility.”

Sources said the Kalimpong municipality had carried out some beautification work at the martyrs’ column in the past and built a public toilet there.

Observers felt that Pradhan was trying to highlight the need for making the martyrs column and the surrounding park a tourist attraction.

“However, Thapa’s disapproval of Pradhan in thewake of the cold war between the two Kalimpong leaders has become a talking point in town,” said a Kalimpong resident.

The BGPM insiders said some leaders felt Pradhan hadn’t taken care of the party’s interests during his tenure as the chairman and functioned a bit independently. But Pradhan has denied the charge.

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