Tribal status committee for Gorkhas centre's election stunt - JAP

Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, April 5: The Jana Andolan Party (JAP) today said it was contemplating filing a complaint with the Election Commission against the Centre's order to constitute a committee to "examine" the demand of granting tribal status to 11 communities "living in Sikkim and other Gorkha dominated states and areas".

The nascent hill party floated by Harka Bahadur Chhetri feels the order by the Union ministry of tribal affairs is a violation of model code of conduct.

"The order looks like an election stunt. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is going to the press with the order and is trying to influence voters. This looks like a violation of model code of conduct. I am currently on the campaign trail and our party's bureau will sit for a meeting and decide by tomorrow whether to file a complaint (with the Election Commission) on the violation of the poll code," Chhetri, the president of the JAP, said today.
Jan Andolan Party Harka Bahadur Chhetri
Jan Andolan Party Harka Bahadur Chhetri
Granting tribal status to 10 Gorkha communities in the Darjeeling hills and Dhimals in Bengal's plains was a demand pursued by the GTA ruled by the Morcha.

Chhetri noted that the panel was just to examine the demand for the tribal tag. "The Morcha has no slogan and it seems the party has begged Rajnath Singh (Union home minister) to save it. The important thing in the order is that the committee has to consult 'respective state governments'. Their (Morcha's) relation (with the state) is known."

The Morcha doesn't enjoy a good rapport with the Trinamul government.

N.B. Khawash, the general secretary of Trinamul (hills), too, tried to highlight this particular section in the order. "It is clear that the state government has to be consulted. In this context, people have to think whether it would be wise to send Amar Singh Rai (Morcha candidate in Darjeelng) or Sharda Rai Subba (Trinamul candidate) to the Assembly. They must also think whether Shanta Chhetri (Trinamul candidate in Kurseong) or Rohit Sharma (Morcha candidate) to the Assembly. We request the voters to take a wise decision."

Jolt to JAP
Topden Bhutia, a close aide to JAP chief Chhetri, resigned from the party on Tuesday, while former president of the Kalimpong branch committee of the GNLF, Anil Lopchan, joined the Morcha. In another development, Bharati Tamang, ABGL president, said the party had not yet taken a decision on supporting Trinamul candidates in Darjeeling and Kurseong.


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