A day after releasing its election manifesto, BJP Tuesday sought to “rectify” the omission of explicit mention of Gorkhaland in its manifesto saying that it will “sympathetically examine” demands of Gorkhas in West Bengal and also “take initiatives” for permanent solution of the issues concerning Bodos of Assam.
“The BJP reiterates that it will sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long pending demands of the Gorkhas, the Adivasis and other people of Darjeeling district and the Dooars region; of the Kamtapuri, Rajbongshi and other people of North Bengal (including recognition of their language); and will take initiatives for the permanent solution of the long pending issues of the Bodos and other tribals of Assam, the people of Sikkim, Leh, Ladakh, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep and other such neglected regions,” the BJP said in an addendum to its manifesto.
The original manifesto had glossed over the issues regarding Gorkhas and Bodos saying “BJP has always stood for greater decentralization through smaller states.” However, it had not mentioned the names of the communities.
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Soon after the amendment was released, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung sought to take the credit for the move. “The GJM had demanded the inclusion of the sentence — long pending demands of the Gorkhas and Adivasis —- and I am happy that the BJP released an addendum to the manifesto last night,” he said in a Facebook post.
The GJM, which is spearheading the movement for a separate Gorkhaland state, is supporting senior BJP leader S S Ahluwalia who is contesting from Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.
Sources said the party had made a similar promise in the last election also when senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh contested the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.
The Trinamool Congress, meanwhile, termed the BJP move as ‘divisive’ politics.