Gangtok: Irrespective of their pre-poll alliance faltering, Bhaichung Bhutia-founded Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) will extend support to the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) in matters relating to the state.
Respecting the people’s mandate, the former Indian footballer said he has faith in SKM in giving clean politics and working for the welfare of the state. The party will lead its own delegation to Delhi to meet the central leaders to extend support for Sikkim and raise issues of the state largely in the context of the huge financial burden the state has been gripped with, as claimed by the SKM government and chief minister Prem Singh Golay.
Addressing a press conference at its party office in Gangtok, the HSP asserted on the recent election to have been a learning experience and the principle of the party on working for the people and clean politics still standing tall after the elections. “Through Golay’s visit to Delhi, we are being made aware of the many financial challenges. Through HSP, we are also planning to take a delegation to Delhi, and meet BJP leaders and ministers to make sure that we raise some issues from the state and try and support the government in any possible way,” Bhutia added.
On the possible coalition with the SKM, the HSP said that since day one they had kept the room for coalition yet the party had to fight on its own despite the Golay-Bhutia meet before the elections. “We had a meeting before elections where we had decided that we wouldn’t be fielding against Kunga Nima Lepcha and Sonam Lama because the kind of leaders they were and kind of clean politics they were giving with sincerity and hard work, we had respect for them. We had people from Shyari also coming and joining the party, but we made it clear we were not contesting with respect to Lepcha. It’s the kind of politics we don’t get to see in Sikkim. Yet, tomorrow if any policy is against the interest of the people then we are definitely going to raise our voice,” Bhutia said.
Bhaichung asserted on building HSP in a better way, claiming that the party had a great team when they started. “People left for various reasons and the team got broken. We have a team, but we need to make a stronger team, which we will start. We have a party meeting tomorrow and we will discuss thoroughly in what way the party should go forward. As we march to Delhi, we want to urge the central leaders to support our state, through infrastructural development, through financial packages, as a border state that kind of support is necessary. With my personal and the party’s relation with the politicians in Delhi, we can put in good words to come and support Sikkim. HSP had a great relation with BJP before the election. We have both personal and professional relation with leaders in Delhi,” he said.
On the possible coalition with BJP, “We are definitely going to work with BJP as we have been doing before the election. Though we didn’t fight the election together, but we had a great relation. Our delegation will see how we can work together,” said the former Indian football captain.
As Bhutia shares a good relationship with Union minister of state for youth affairs and sports Kiren Rijiju, he said, “We are 110% sure to get help and support for sports development in Sikkim. The SKM government will have to come up with a great plan and the right policies so that he can implement the same. The state government needs to study how we can really improve infrastructure facilities, the culture and environment in terms of sports, making more kids play sports. We wanted to start a football academy in Sikkim which failed to happen with the previous government. Sports academy is something we want to pursue with government, create lot of tournaments and platforms to come and play and go outside and represent. I have my academies outside of Sikkim, we want to make sure now to promote younger players from Sikkim in a better way.”
On the ‘One Family, One Job’ fiasco, Bhutia said, “It’s quite difficult for the new government to counter 20,000 jobs under ‘One Family, One Job’ when the previous government implemented the same right at the end of former government’s tenure. There was no planning or new budget allocated, but it’s important that when such jobs were given the government should have been considerate to look after them and give jobs. I know it’s difficult but the parties have been considerate of giving them jobs, while on the mass transfers, I feel it is a fair transfer as a new government would want to work with people who are in same wavelength as them.”
On Chamling’s promise of 60,000 jobs, Bhutia said, “Pawan Chamling and SDF have done very little and very late for the youth of Sikkim, if they had done 20,000 jobs five years ago and given away 60,000 jobs in the last 25 years, I think he could have survived and ran the government again. What is being offered or being done is a little too late for the youth. 60,000 jobs now are very late for the youth of Sikkim. That has been the reason why the youth of Sikkim have not voted for SDF party in this election.”
Bhutia also agreed on the over Rs 8,000 crore of debt being in black and white. “We cannot deny that and it is there. Sikkim has got the potential to have been sustainable and infused development, it is surprising that Sikkim has not been able to do that. Not being able to stand on our feet is very unfortunate. We have the resources and capability for producing, that should be the priority for the current government as well, we should have been able to sustain ourselves, if we keep depending on the centre, it’s going to be a very difficult task for the future,” he said.
The party will discuss on its probability of contesting in upcoming by-elections for the three constituencies of the state.