Hamro Sikkim Party questions Assembly quota claim

Hamro Sikkim Party spokesman Biraj Adhikari (left) and vice-president Bina Basnet
Gangtok: The Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) on Sunday questioned the claim of the SDF of increasing the strength of the Assembly from the present 32 to 40 in order to reserve seats for Limbus and Tamangs, who are yet to get their House quota despite being granted the Scheduled Tribe status in 2003.
Reacting to reports in a section of the media that the Union home ministry had moved the cabinet to increase the number of seats in the Sikkim Assembly, HSP spokesman Biraj Adhikari said the strength of the Assembly could only be increased by amending Article 371F of the Constitution, which provides special status to Sikkim.
"The Union cabinet cannot amend the Constitution, only the Parliament can do so," he said.
Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling and his party have been repeatedly asserting that the reservation of seats for the Limbus and Tamangs would take place before next year's Assembly elections either by amending the Constitution or by way of a presidential ordinance.

Adhikari, however, said there had to be a public debate before any amendment was made to Article 371F.
"Sikkimese people will refuse anything that is thrust upon them from above. Chamling must explain how the seats will be increased without amending the Constitution," he said.
The HSP was launched by ex-footballer Bhaichung Bhutia.
The HSP was also critical of the government's land laws which bar people belonging to one community from buying land of another community. Only the Bhutias and Lepchas, who are protected under the pre-merger rule - revenue order number one, are allowed to buy land from other communities. "The chief minister must explain the nonsensical land laws recently put forth by the government which has caused distress and confusion among the people," said the HSP spokesman.
Asked to comment on the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha president P. S. Golay's call for opposition unity in order to end the nearly 25-year-old SDF rule, Adhikari said the HSP was open to it.
"Even before the SKM took out its rally, it was our party which took the initiative and wrote to the director general of police, governor and the Union home ministry, demanding equal treatment to all parties. We have already extended one arm of friendship, it is for others to grab it," he said.

The Telegraph
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Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) on Sunday questioned the claim of the SDF of increasing the strength of the Assembly from the present 32 to 40 in order to reserve seats for Limbus and Tamangs

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