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Tribal status examine committee a gimmick to show the GJM, its political ally - says JAP

JAP president Harka Bahadur Chhetri
The Centre’s decision to set up a committee to examine the demand for tribal status to 11 Gorkha communities has come as a face saver for the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, who will use it extensively to garner votes for its candidates in the Assembly election. But the Jan Andolan Party believes the BJP government’s move is nothing but a gimmick to show the GJM, its political ally, in good light among the electorate.
In a press conference today, the GJM said it was up to the people to decide what would be more beneficial, getting tribal status that would be constitutionally guaranteed or minor achievements such as Kalimpong being made into a district, and getting community development boards.
GJM assistant secretary Binay Tamang said, “The Union tribal affairs ministry issued an order on April 2 for the formation of a committee to examine the tribal status demand to the 11 communities for which chief secretaries of various states will also be consulted. We believe we are close to achieving tribal status for the communities and we would like to ask whether getting development boards is more important. The boards that have already been formed come under the Society Act and once the present government ceases to hold power, the life of the boards will also end. On the other hand, achieving tribal status is something that would be constitutionally guaranteed.”
He added, “The same logic also applies in the matter of making Kalimpong into a district. The Morcha fully supports this, but nothing concrete has been done except an announcement made by the chief minister. But an order has already come for the formation of a committee to examine the demand for tribal status. People should concentrate more on what they have got rather than on what they may get.”
Meantime, JAP president Harka Bahadur Chhetri said, “The GJM will have no role to play as the Centre’s order clearly states that the committee will consult various state governments on the tribal status issue. Moreover, nowhere in the order is it written that the 11 communities will be accorded tribal status, so there is no guarantee as to what will happen as the committee will first examine the matter thoroughly. A similar committee had been formed 10 years ago too and the UPA government had rejected it. As for the formation of a Kalimpong district, the state cabinet approved it on December 18, 2016.”
Chhetri further said, “Moreover, the tribal status examining committee is just a political gimmick given the timing of the announcement. It could also be in violation of the election code of conduct as gullible voters can be easily exploited. We will hold a meeting and ascertain whether a complaint can be filed with the Election Commission.”
In another development in Kalimpong, JAP assistant joint secretary Topden Bhutia resigned from the party citing lack of democracy and transparency. Chhetri reacted to this by dismissing Bhutia’s allegations as baseless saying his departure would not affect the party a bit. (EOIC)

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