Statesman News ServiceGANGTOK, May 12: Almost all the major political parties of Sikkim boycotted the merger of Sikkim and Darjeeling but pledged to give moral support for the fight for Gorkhaland.Opposition party Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad (SHRP), State Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), and ruling Sikkim Democratic Party has boycotted the merger. “No doubt we have the same culture, tradition and language but we don’t have the same political scenario here, like Darjeeling” said Mr Tara Shresta, general secretary SHRP. “We are emotionally bound to Darjeeling so we will always support their good cause and they are fighting for Gorkha’s identity but we are fighting against corruption and for the welfare of Sikkim,” he added. State BJP president echoed his words but he refused to comment claiming it is entirely Darjeeling’s matter so speaking on behalf of them would be incorrect. “Unless we don’t discuss the matter in the Centre and get permission from high commands we are not allowed to talk,” said Mr HR Pradhan. “But as per my knowledge our colleagues in Darjeeling are demanding a separate state instead of a Darjeeling-Sikkim merger,” he added. When contacted Dr GS Yonzon president of BJP Darjeeling unit, said: “Other political parties are demanding Darjeeling-Sikkim merger just to be free from Bengal but our first priority is for statehood instead of merger. This is our movement for our identity so either this way or the other way we just want to be free from Bengal”. Historically, Darjeeling belonged to Nepal in the eighteenth century and then belonged to Sikkim in the nineteenth century. British political officer for Sikkim and Tibet Sir Claude White, Sikkim’s King Tashi Namgyal and Bengal officer of that time had gifted Darjeeling to British to set up a sanatorium centre due to its suitable climate and hospital for tuberculosis patients. When asked why they don’t claim to be a part of Nepal, Dr Yonzon said, Darjeeling belonged to Nepal earlier but then it belonged to Sikkim. On the other hand, Mr R Moktan from Kalimpong, Mr DK Bomzon from Kurseong and Mr Ashok Chong from Sikkim are spearheading the move for a Darjeeling-Sikkim merger. They had a meeting in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sikkim for a merger through Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) recently. They demanded a Greater Sikkim where Jalpaiguri, Dooars and Mechi in Nepal would be included as a part in the new Sikkim. But Mr BB Gooroong advisor to the chief minister of Sikkim disagreed with them. “That was the history when Darjeeling belonged to Sikkim and now it has gone to the dustbin of history. Now if we claim Pakistan as part of India at this age will they agree? It is not possible for Sikkim to merge with Darjeeling,” said Mr Gooroong. “We have already merged with India in 1975 and became the twenty-second state of the country so again we don’t want to be sub-merged,” he added. He slammed Mr Chong as to why he gave such provocative comments on behalf of Sikkimese people. “Whatever comment from the Sikkim side must come from the chief minister Mr Pawan Chamling because he is the people’s mandate,” he said. But he also maintained that he will always have sentiments for Darjeeling people as they are emotionally attached. His wife is from Kalimpong and many others exchange their marital affairs with Darjeeling and Kalim-pong. “We always want to see Darjeeling go ahead and we like them to do well and are always ready to help in their cause like we did it for Prashant Tamang and Prakriti Giri (both were stars of TV reality show),” said Mr Gooroong. When asked if he supported Gorkhaland, he said: “Yes, we want Gorkhas to have their own identity and we are always ready to give them moral support”.
Posted on May 13, 2008 by jytmkh