Gangtok: Darjeeling MP Raju Bista on Saturday allayed rumours of a possible alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and former CM Pawan Kumar Chamling-led Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) in Sikkim and said that the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) is part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre.
Asserting that the SKM is an ally of the NDA, Bista said he is working closely with Sikkim Lok Sabha MP Indra Hang Subba to fulfill the aspirations of both Sikkim and the Darjeeling hill region.
Launching the BJP’s nationwide ‘Sadasyata Abhiyaan’ (membership drive) at Singtam in East Sikkim on Saturday, the Darjeeling MP, however, said, “I have come here to propagate the popularity of BJP in Sikkim and SKM ministers are also with us here today. They are also confident that whatever needs to be done for the people of Sikkim will be done in collaboration with the BJP. For the development of the regions in the Darjeeling Hills as well as in Sikkim, we must all work together for the people.”
Bista was speaking at a party meeting, which was also attended by ministers Sanjit Kharel and Bhim Hang Subba alongside state BJP president DB Chauhan and youth president Laten Sherpa, among other BJP functionaries.
Commenting on his Sikkim counterpart, Bista said that he and Indra Hang Subba are both are from the Gorkha community, of the same age, and meet each other and almost share the same space in Parliament.
“He also has aspirations to do good for Sikkim as well as what he can seek from the Central government. Even I am with the same aspiration and the expectation of the people of Dooars, Siliguri and Darjeeling hills. I feel they have supported the BJP for a long time, I feel the necessity to work for them, which I had mentioned before the election. So we both are working together for Darjeeling and Sikkim to secure the best gifts for our people. We hope the development works here are accelerated,” he said.
Bista, who claimed to have visited Sikkim a decade ago, shared that he felt privileged to be part of the membership drive on the auspicious occasion of the 84th birthday of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and the birth anniversary of BJP’s founding father Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.
“Our motive is not merely to form the government but we want more people to join or be a part of BJP. The way the nation is being taken ahead under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we all must contribute to development of the nation.”
Shifting his focus to Darjeeling, the MP was vocal on stopping police atrocities in the hills by the Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC). “The atrocities have increased since 2017 under TMC and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s Binay Tamang faction. They have faced failure in the Lok Sabha as well as during the by-election in Darjeeling, despite that they are not taking lessons. They feel that if they jail big leaders, they can continue as a party. But they are forgetting the fundamentals that leaders are made by the people,” he said.
Putting his faith on the people to decipher between the good and the bad, Bista claimed to have highlighted the issue in Parliament and vouched to take the matter ahead with proper investigation.
“I have written letters to the Union government as well as to the Union home minister twice. As the atrocities cannot continue from here on, we will not let our people be killed or put behind the bars. Such dictatorship cannot continue for long, the people are against such dictatorial regime. Hence the situation must be normalised soon. After winning the mandate of the people, I will not remain silent when people are being killed,” said Bista.
Bista also hinted on scrapping the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) saying that a tripartite dialogue will immediately begin to reach a permanent political solution in the hills.
“If it doesn’t end up being tripartite, then the Centre and the people of the hills must sit together and initiate the dialogue. We will try to discuss the issue with the West Bengal government to reach a permanent political solution,” Bista said.
On the Union Budget presented by the Central government on Friday, Bista highlighted how the $2.7 trillion will take the nation ahead.
“The development of roads and highways, civil aviation, women empowerment, youth and education — these are all the things we want for the people of Sikkim and the Darjeeling hills. Whatever we are in need of has been mentioned in the budget. Those in Darjeeling must not consider the same to be the budget for the GTA, but it’s a budget for the 130 crore people of the country,” he added.