regular-article-logo Monday, 05 June 2023

Raju Bista pushes for 3-tier rural polls in hills

BJP MP demanded three-tier panchayat system in Darjeeling hills in Parliament

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 18.12.22, 04:29 AM
Raju Bista

Raju Bista File picture

BJP MP Raju Bista has said he requested the Centre to “order” three-tier panchayat elections in the Darjeeling hills, prompting Trinamul to accuse the hill leader of creating a false narrative.

Bista in a statement on Saturday said he demanded a three-tier panchayat system in the Darjeeling hills in Parliament on Friday.


Following the 73rd constitutional amendment in 1993, provisions were made for a two-tier panchayat system of gram panchayat and panchayat samitis in Darjeeling hills under the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). The DGHC was replaced by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) in 2012.

However, the rest of Bengal has a three-tier system.

Within Darjeeling district, the sub-division of Siliguri, outside the GTA, has a threetier system with the Siliguri Mahukama Parishad.

The state government will hold two-tier panchayat polls in the hills next year.

Rural polls, that too only for one-tier gram panchayat, was last held in Darjeeling hills in 2000. Opposition by hill parties to the two-tier system is cited as a reason for the delay in rural polls.

Bista wrote: “However, I informed the Parliament that even now the WB Govt is attempting to subvert democracy in our region, by claiming that they will only conduct 2-tier Panchayat elections. This is being done to further deprive our region and people, as 2-Tier Panchayat system is unconstitutional.”

“Therefore, respecting people’s sentiment, I have requested the Central Government to order conducting of 3-tier Panchayat Elections in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong Districts.”

A Trinamul hill leader said the Constitution had to be amended to pave the way for a three-tier panchayat system in Darjeeling hills. “Instead of asking the BJP-led government at the Centre to amend the Constitution, Bista is trying to spread a false narrative,” the leader said.

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