Chamling quota jibe at BJP

Chamling interacts with people at Daramdin in West Sikkim
Daramdin (West Sikkim): Sikkim chief minister and president of the Sikkim Democratic Party Pawan Chamling on Tuesday obliquely accused the BJP of trying to fool the Limbu and Tamang communities of the state by promising them reservation of seats in the Assembly.
Addressing party supporters here on the first day of the second-leg of his mass-contact programme, Chamling said the state couldn't reserve seats in the Assembly for any community because that is the domain of the Centre.
"Every time I go to Delhi, or they (Central leaders) come here, I raise the issue of seat reservation for the Limbus and Tamangs, and granting of scheduled tribe status for all other Nepali communities. The state is not authority to provide seat reservation, the Centre has the authority to do so," he said.
Limbus and Tamangs, who were granted Scheduled Tribe status in 2002, has long been demanding reservation of seats for them in the Assembly. The ruling SDF, too, supports the demand. Recently, the BJP had claimed that it was the only party capable of delivering the demand.
Without naming the BJP, Chamling, however, said people wouldn't be fooled by the BJP claim. "A party from outside said recently that it alone was capable of providing seat reservation to the Limbus and Tamangs. Can a party provide reservation? Are we all fools?" he asked.

Observers said Chamling's raking up of the reservation issue in the West district was significant because the two communities, particularly the Limbus, had a huge presence in the district, which has eight seats in the Assembly.
"Chamling has embarked on his campaign keeping in mind the Assembly elections which are slated for the middle of next year. Reservation is expected to be a major issue in the West district during the elections because of the massive presence of Limbus there. By passing on the buck of reservation to the Centre, Chamling is trying to keep his Limbu support base intact," said an observer.
During the last Assembly elections in 2014, the ruling SDF had made a complete sweep of the West district by winning all the eight seats.
In fact, it is the party's performances in the West and South districts that had saved the SDF blushes because its rival, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, had bagged as many as 8 out of the 12 seats in the East district. SDF had come back to power for the fifth term by winning 22 out of the 32 seats in the Sikkim Assembly.
Chamling also reminded that it was his party and government which were instrumental in granting tribal status to the Limbus and Tamangs in 2002. "In 1976, the Limbus and Tamangs were not made tribals by the then government. Had they been made tribals then, all other Nepali communities would have got tribal status by now. Again in 1987, the two communities were similarly denied. In 2002, it was we who wanted them to be tribals."
Both in 1976 and 1987, Sikkim was governed by the Nar Bahadur Bhandari-headed Sikkim Sangram Parishad.
Referring to the ban on non-organic vegetables, Chamling said the government had made the decision in the interest of the Sikkimese people, particularly the rural populace, and it will stand by it.
"All must take up organic farming...no vegetables will come from outside. Potatoes and onions are allowed to be brought from outside this year, but they will not be allowed next year. Only rice and salt will be allowed," he said, while announcing some sops for the local farmers to encourage them to grow more vegetables.

The Telegraph

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