Swamy backs hill promise
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy tweeted on the day the party lost the Delhi Assembly polls that time had come for the organisation to look at the promises it had made and Gorkhaland should be made a Union territory.
“Time for the BJP to start looking at our 2014-to date the party’s organisational culture. In many. States we had made promises we could not keep. Gorkhaland is top priority. Must make it a Union Territory as promised,” the Rajya Sabha member tweeted in the morning.
The BJP had not promised a separate state of Gorkhaland or Union territory status for the Darjeeling hills.
“We are committed to work towards finding a permanent political solution to the issue of Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri, Terai and Dooars region,” reads the 2019 general election manifesto by the BJP.
Swamy’s tweet has been hailed by most hill parties, but BJP leaders in the plains were trying to distance themselves from it given the sensitivity of the issue vis-à-vis politics of the rest of Bengal.
Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, who had in the past spoken against the statehood demand, could not be contacted as several calls made to him went unanswered. BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha declined comments.
A senior Bengal BJP leader admitted that they were caught in an awkward position and added that the party had “never mentioned that a Union territory would be constituted to meet the demand of residents of the Darjeeling hills”.
“This is something on which somebody in the national leadership should comment. We had seen earlier that his (Swamy’s) remarks left the party in an awkward position and it seems to have happened again,” he added.
Neeraj Zimba, GNLF leader who won the recent Darjeeling Assembly bypoll on a BJP ticket, welcomed the tweet.
Another tweet to Swamy had questioned: “Sir if BJP makes Gorkhaland then whatever it has in Bengal will vanish!”
Swamy replied: “Gorkhaland is not being given to Pakistan. It will be still part of India like Bengal.”