Gangtok: Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia on Sunday rued the “lack of development” in Sikkim under various regimes over the years, and urged people to vote for his Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) in the 2024 assembly polls to usher in real ‘parivartan’ (change) in the state.
In an open letter to people on the occasion of Maghe Sankranti’, Bhutia said the Himalayan state has not got its due share of development in key sectors like road connectivity, education, healthcare, internet services and transportation.
“Sikkim’s rich history and tradition is what sets it apart as a land possessing an abundance of pride, possibilities and potential, but unfortunately, due to poor politics and politicians, our state has not got its due share of development in any of the sectors,” the HSP chief said.
Bhutia said if voted to power, the HSP would seek to provide equality and justice to people by resolving the issue of reservation of seats in the assembly for Nepali-speaking people.
The football icon also said that he firmly believed in the necessity of implementing an Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Sikkim, as it was a sensitive state that shares international borders with three countries.
“There is a need to protect Sikkim’s diverse ethnic communities and to clamp down on the menace of drugs, crimes and violence that have historically been alien to the traditional Sikkimese society,” he said.
Bhutia also hit out at the present and previous governments in Sikkim for “neglecting” infrastructure development.
“It is sad to note that even in 2023, so many patients including pregnant women die in Sikkim because they cannot be rushed to hospital on time due to poor road conditions,” he said.
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Earlier this month, the HSP had announced an alliance with another regional party, the Sikkim Republican Party.
The two parties had also unveiled a three-point Common Minimum Programme (CMP), which includes implementation of Inner Line Permit in Sikkim, reservation of seats in the assembly for Nepali-speaking people and preservation of Article 371F (dealing with special provisions with respect to the state of Sikkim).
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