Race for credit on hill ST status

Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram
The Bimal Gurung faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has claimed a central assurance on the demand for Scheduled Tribe status for 11 hill communities, setting off a tussle for credit on a key plank for the Lok Sabha elections.

Gurung faction leaders said they had met Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram on Tuesday. The delegation was led by BJP’s Darjeeling MP S.S. Ahluwalia.

“He (Oram) assured the delegates that he will be doing his best to introduce a bill (during the winter session) to include the 11 Gorkha sub-tribes under the ST status in India,” a post by Bishal Chhetri, identified as vice-president of Morcha central committee (Bimal camp), said the after meeting with Oram.

Hours after the statement, Morcha chief and Gurung rival Tamang was quick to respond with a warning. “If the BJP government does not place the (ST) bill (in the winter session) we will start an all out agitation across the country against the BJP,” Tamang said in a statement seen a move to pile pressure the Centre.

The purported meeting with Oram comes against the backdrop of a flurry of activities in Delhi on the issue that could probably decide the political future of Darjeeling.

The Centre and the Bengal government and all parties support the demand.

Tuesday’s reported talks are seen as an attempt by the BJP to consolidate its position in the hills after general disenchantment with the party during the statehood agitation last year when it was seen to be aloof and removed.

Ahluwalia, the Darjeeling MP, had drawn criticism for not visiting the hills during the unrest.

The tribal population in the hills is around 34 per cent, but if the 11 communities — Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunuwar, Thami, Yakka (Dewan) and Dhimal — are granted the special status, the tribal population is likely to be more than 80 per cent. Neither the political parties nor the governments — the state and Centre, can afford to ignore this issue.

It was earlier revealed that the state government had twice sought proposed ST status for the 11 hill communities but the Registrar General of India (RGI), a body under the Centre, has rejected it.

Roshan Giri of the Bimal camp, however, has been stating that the rejection is not an issue as the Centre has formed a committee to look into this demand.

The committee has apparently submitted its recommendations to the Union government.

On Wednesday, according to Chhetri’s statement, tribal affairs minister Oram has promised to take up the issue with Union home minister Rajnath Singh.

An observer said: “The tribal issue could be decisive before the next parliamentary elections. Every stakeholder, government or parties, support this issue. It is all about who can take credit, if by any chance the tribal status is granted.”

The Telegraph
loading...

The Bimal Gurung faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has claimed a central assurance on the demand for Scheduled Tribe status for 11 hill communities, setting off a tussle for credit on a key plank for the Lok Sabha elections.

Read latest post filed under political news

Post a Comment

We love to hear from you! What's on your mind?

[blogger][facebook]

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *

Powered by Blogger.