FROM SIKKIM EXPRESS
GANGTOK, August 7: The signature campaign organized by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for a separate State of ‘Gorkhaland’ here in Capital today generated a massive response from sections of the society. The signature campaign launched by GJM in Sikkim today was the first state in the Northeast region. Hundreds of people today turned up at the Titantic Park here today in support of the signature campaign. [Inset: Former Sikkimese Chief Minister Bhandari Signing The Gorkhaland Signature Campaign Poster]
Cutting across political lines, major political parties from the State participated in the campaign, which was perhaps the first of its kind held in the State for the Gorkhaland Statehood demand. The first two persons to sign on the ‘Gorkhaland’ banner were former Chief Ministers of the State. Former Chief Minister and currently the Advisor to the Chief Minister, BB Gooroong was the first to sign on the banner who was followed by another former Chief Minister and presently president of Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee, Nar Bahadur Bhandari. [Inset 2: A resident of Gangtok signing the Gorkhaland Signature Campaign]
After signing the banner, Mr. Bhandari said that the demand for a separate state by the people of Darjeeling hills is justified and well within the ambit of the Constitution. “Those who oppose Gorkhaland demand has no right to stay in Sikkim”, he said. Recalling the all round and ‘practical’ efforts launched for the national recognition of Nepali language in 1992, the SPCC chief said that similar strategy should be adopted for Gorkhaland demand. “The recognition of Nepali language was a step towards paving the way for creation of Gorkhaland,” Mr. Bhandari said. The separate state of Gorkhaland can be created by Parliament only and the focus now should on garnering support in the Parliament, he added. He also pointed that Sikkim has been contributing towards Gorkhaland movement since the 1980’s agitation.