Darjeeling leader S.P. Sharma starts indefinite hunger strike to nudge BJP on tribal status
The general-secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (Bharati Tamang faction), S.P. Sharma, launched an indefinite hunger strike in Darjeeling on Sunday, demanding an explanation from the BJP and its Darjeeling MP Raju Bista on what they had done so far to get tribal status for 11 hill communities and a “permanent political solution” for the hills.
Earlier, some other hill leaders had questioned the BJP and the Centre on these two issues. However, in recent times, this is the first indefinite hunger strike against the saffron camp and Bista.
Sharma launched his hunger strike at the central office of the ABGL located in Laden La Road of the hill town.
“The MP has spent half of his (five-year) tenure but is yet to elaborate how he would fulfill the promises,” Sharma said.
Bikram Adi Rai, vice-president of the ABGL, demanded Bista should quit if he could not clarify his stand on these two issues that the BJP had cited in its poll manifesto before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “The BJP MP should clearly say, with evidence, what he has done on these issues. He should tell us the steps the Centre has taken for a permanent political solution of Darjeeling,” said Rai.
ABGL leaders also wanted Bista to fix a deadline by which these commitments would be fulfilled. “Or else, he should accept his failure in writing and resign as MP,” said Rai.
“It is obvious that such a move of the ABGL will mount pressure on both the MP and his party. It will be interesting to see how they handle the situation,” said a veteran in hill politics.