BJP makes it clear: Not in favour of Gorkhaland

The BJP has been in a fix over the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state — a demand which was revived recently after the West Bengal government announced that Bengali would be a compulsory subject in all schools till Class X.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: June 28, 2017 8:40 pm
Gorkhaland Agitation, Darjeeling agitation, Gorkhas, separate Gorkhaland state, BJP chief Amit Shah, West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, At a protest in Darjeeling on Tuesday. Express

A WEEK after BJP chief Amit Shah said the party was yet to decide its stand on the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya on Tuesday said the party cannot support the demand. He added that it wants to help “protect the identity and culture of the Gorkhas and address their development concerns”. His remarks came amid reports that Shah had summoned West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, national secretary Rahul Sinha and state general secretary in charge of organisation Subrata Chatterjee to Delhi to clarify the party’s stand on the issue.

The BJP has been in a fix over the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state — a demand which was revived recently after the West Bengal government announced that Bengali would be a compulsory subject in all schools till Class X. By the time the state government clarified that it would not be compulsory, the damage was done. Tensions gripped the Darjeeling hills and the protests escalated to the demand for a separate state.

In its manifestoes ahead of the 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP had stated that it “would sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long pending demands of the Gorkhas.” But its ambition to emerge as a major electoral force in West Bengal seems to have the party in a dilemma. “We have always been sympathetic to the concerns of the Gorkhas when it comes to the protection of their identity and culture. The party never backed a separate Gorkhaland,” said Vijayvargiya. “We have to look at their demands for development of the region and address issues like backwardness,” he added.

Sources said the BJP cannot afford to support the creation of a separate Gorkhaland state — a region which is as small as “two-and-a-half assembly constituencies” in the border area. “The Centre has intelligence inputs that there could be Chinese incursions through the region,” said a senior BJP leader. With its state leaders making it clear that they could not back the Gorkhaland demand, the BJP tried to put the onus on the TMC-led government in West Bengal. “The state government should take the initiative if there is a need for a separate state,” Vijayvargiya said. When it was pointed out that the Centre does not require the state’s consent for the formation of a new state, he said, “But the state government should officially say that it is for it or against it.”

BJP leaders also said the delay by the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government in granting financial autonomy to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration had left the people of the region discontented. The BJP leader’s opposition to the demand for a separate state comes a week after Shah indicated that the party was yet to decide on its stand on the issue. On June 17, Shah, when asked about the party’s Darjeeling MP and Union Minister S S Ahluwalia’s support for the agitation, said: “It is true that we are in favour of small states. Once we decide something about it, we will announce it.”

Ahluwalia had written to the Union Home Ministry seeking to appoint a committee to look into the merits and demerits of the demands of Gorkhas, Adivasis and others. Ahluwalia is the second BJP MP — after Jaswant Singh — to have won the Darjeeling seat, with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s help.

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  1. S
    sk
    Jun 28, 2017 at 8:58 pm
    BJP just chickened out for political purposes. Its stated policy is supposed to be that it favors small states. That was the reason it gave when it supported Telangana formation. It is now sucked up to political considerations that it is not supporting Gor nd and the break up UP. SHAME on your double standards BJP!
    Reply
    1. S
      Swapan
      Jun 28, 2017 at 11:39 am
      A highly mature decision by BJP.
      Reply
      1. S
        sk
        Jun 28, 2017 at 8:59 pm
        Nope, it is a parochial decision, keeping in mind the Bengali vote.
        Reply
      2. C
        chitta
        Jun 28, 2017 at 10:51 am
        Some Muslims are terrorists but all Muslims are not, so stop blaming Muslims and Islam. Gorkha creating problems in dergeling not Muslim.
        Reply
        1. K
          Kavi Rama Murthy
          Jun 28, 2017 at 12:32 pm
          You are right. A better example comes from Naxlaites and LTTE.
          Reply
          1. N
            Nandagopal C.S
            Jun 28, 2017 at 1:42 pm
            yes some muslims are terrrrorists but all muslims are supprters of terrorists. That's why they are silent. Learn from the history. Muslims are reason for creating a monster called Pakistan. They are the reason for trouble in Kashmir. They are the reason for all the relgionn based riots.
            Reply
          2. T
            T DUTTA
            Jun 28, 2017 at 10:37 am
            SOME GORKHA SHOULD GO TO LOK SABHA FROM Darjeeling SEAT---
            Reply
            1. T
              T DUTTA
              Jun 28, 2017 at 10:27 am
              GOR ND AGITATORS HAVE NEVER SENT ANY GORKHA TO LOK SABHA FROM DARJEELING----EVERY TIME THEY ARE SENDING SOMEONE FROM NORTH INDIA-----WHY SOMEONE FROM NORTH INDIA>?---WHY MR BIMAL GURUNG DOES NOT CONTEST LOK SABHA ELECTION?--WHY MR ROSHAN GIRI DOES NOT CONTEST LO SABHA ELECTION?----BJP MAY WIN MANY SEATS IN WEST BENGAL IF THEY OPPOSE GOR ND AGITATION
              Reply
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