Darjeeling BJP MP Raju Bista on Monday raised the demand for a “constitutional solution” for Darjeeling region in the Lok Sabha at a time when pressure was mounting on the saffron camp to deliver on its promises before the present tenure of the central government ends.
“Speaking in the Parliament, today I highlighted the need for a constitutional solution for our Darjeeling region. I reminded the Parliament that our Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars is the only region in India that shares four international boundaries and therefore it is strategically very important,” Bista said in a statement.
In an effort to highlight the administratively “different” history of the region, Bista informed the House that the region had been governed as a non-regulated, regulated area, scheduled district, backward tract and partially-excluded areas before Independence.
The provisions meant that the region was administratively treated differently from the rest of Bengal and many laws meant for the rest of Bengal would not be implemented immediately in the region.
“However, post-Independence, due to the lack of a concrete constitutional body to govern the area, our region and people have become deprived and discriminated against,” said Bista.
The MP also raised the issue of national security and the need to keep the “Siliguri corridor” — the gateway to the Northeast — safe and secure.
“I informed the Parliament that the safety and security of our region is only possible when the indigenous people of the region are safe. This is why the people from Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars are seeking justice and a solution under the Constitution of India, which will ensure governance of the people from our region, for the people of our region, and by the people of our region,” said Bista.
Bista’s statement in the Lok Sabha comes within days of representatives of 26 BJP mandals in the hills and the Terai writing to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president J.P. Nadda, requesting them to fulfil the party’s election manifesto.
The BJP had in its 2019 election manifesto promised a “permanent political solution” for the region, along with tribal status to 11 hill communities.