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Ready to contest Lok Sabha polls against party's 'outsider' candidate: Kurseong BJP MLA

B.P. Sharma, apart from being critical of his own party, also added that strategies like engaging with bureaucrats, instead of only with politicians, must be adopted for the Gorkhaland statehood cause

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 09.11.23, 09:44 AM
BP Sharma.

BP Sharma. File picture

The BJP MLA from Kurseong B.P. Sharma (Bajgain) has announced that he would contest against the official BJP candidate if the party nominated an “outsider” in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

The MLA hinted that he considered sitting Darjeeling BJP MP Raju Bista and former foreign secretary Harshvardhan Shringla, with roots in the hills, as “outsiders.”

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The name of Shringla as a probable BJP candidate for the Lok Sabha election is doing the rounds.

“If the BJP comes with the same election promises and sends someone from Delhi and does not find any from here (local) this time, too, I am ready to contest against the candidate,” said Bajgain.

The BJP leader who has been vocal on the demand for a Gorkhaland state said "outsider" MPs only hoodwinked hill people.

“The Congress made an outsider (Indra Kumar Khullar) an MP from Darjeeling. The BJP first nominated Jaswant Singh (in 2009), then brought in a heavyweight (S.S.Ahluwalia) in the next election (2014) and the heavyweight was missing during the 2017 Gorkhaland agitation,” said Bajgain.

The Kurseong MLA added that sitting Gorkha MP Bista from Manipur did not perform satisfactorily.

“We thought we had brought a Gorkha’s son but we now realise we just brought a party cadre. He is not working for the community but for the party as he wants a party ticket,” said Bajgain.

Shringla also came under attack from Bajgain, who, however, did not name him.

“During Durga Puja we found (Shringla’s) posters written in Bengali in Siliguri and in Nepali in Darjeeling. Just having a property (in the hills) is not enough. Even Mithun Chakrabotry and Govinda have properties in the hills... we need people who are from among us and are committed to our cause,” said Bajgain.

Shringla traces his roots to Darjeeling with both his parents hailing from the hills. Shringla has ancestral properties in Darjeeling but has spent most of his time away from Darjeeling right from his school days.

The BJP MLA also added that when locals from Darjeeling like Ananda Pathak and R.B. Rai was elected they did come up with concrete steps on the issue of autonomy for the hill region and for recognition of Nepali language in the Eighth schedule of the Constitution.

The Kurseong MLA, apart from being critical of his own party, also added that strategies like engaging with bureaucrats, instead of only with politicians, must be adopted for their statehood cause.

“I can take a lead on this strategy if other hill leaders agree,” said Bajgain who added that hill politicians should start thinking beyond Darjeeling-centric politics.

“I held two meetings with Ananta Maharaj (a proponent of Greater Cooch Behar state) but soon he was made a Rajya Sabha MP (by the BJP). Maybe they did not want to see this unity among those demanding separation from Bengal,” said Bajgain.

BJP MP Bista said things were clear before the hill people about who worked and stood by the Gorkhas for the past four-and-a-half-years.

“I do not need a certificate from B.P. Bajgain,” said Bista.

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