EastMojo speaks with the Upper Tadong legislator who, along with Em Prasad Sharma, attended budget session of legislative assembly despite boycott call given by party
EastMojo: Tell us why did you attend the budget session?
GT Dhungel: See, as far as the budget session is concerned the proceedings are taken up in the assembly those pertain to the public in general. Since I am an elected member, it is my moral duty to see to understand the proceedings and not only that, people who have voted for me they would always like me to go there and address the issues of public and accordingly matters can be resolved. But when I missed the first day, there were lots of comments that came from the media where they were criticising the government, especially the Sikkim Democratic Font (SDF) party. So I felt bad. It's not that I am going against the party president’s directives, in fact, I am helping the party to go there and address the issues. So in the right earnest, I went there representing the people as I have been elected by the people, it is my moral duty to be there to put forward whatever needs and issues are there.
EM: SDF held a press conference where spokesperson MK Subba specifically mentioned that none of the 13 MLAs from SDF would be attending the budget session. Does your move indicate you parting ways with SDF?
GTD: No, as a spokesperson he said the right thing. But the reaction which we saw on Monday from the media and the public we felt bad and thinking about these things we went there. It is not that we have parted ways from the original SDF party because we are still part of the SDF party. Only that we have asked for separate seating from where we can correct course and work in the right direction so that things work out and carry on in the right perspective for the people of Sikkim especially for, my constituency.
EM: What was the understanding that reached to a separate seating of the house with for the two MLAs?
GTD: Assembly, especially the budget session, where people from my constituency... they are all educated and they were pressing me that I should attend the assembly so that I could represent them and whatever issues that could be placed in the assembly. So these things promoted me to go there attend the session and also requested the speaker to give us separate bench because, we still are in the party and since the party president had directed us not to attend. We thought if we could have separate seating from where we could address without hurting sentiments.
EM: Inside the assembly itself, Em Prasad Sharma also mentioned that this is SDF -2. Are you coming up with a third front? Or is this a different wing of SDF from here?
GTD: There are lots of talks insisting rumors of the third front but it’s nothing like that we are here because of the SDF party only that we have asked for separate seating and we will be there and carry out a role as the elected members, constructive man so whatever some misdeeds or some wrongs that are being done that we will correct it and in a very cooperative way. We will see that and workout and carry out in the interest of the Sikkim and Sikkimese, so we will ensure that the holistic development of Sikkimese is ensured.
EM: Are more MLAs joining you and Em Prasad Sharma?
GTD: There is no intimation as far as of more MLAs [joining] us and we have not received any kind of communication from them. But, time will tell because as per need and as per necessary things will be taken up because they also educated, they are also responsible, they have been elected by the people to work for the people and for the benefit of the people. So they will have to take steps in public interest so time will tell what steps will be taken in future
EM: So far you have raised one particular question that was directed to the Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay. It was directed more towards the Sikkim-Darjeeling Morcha that was making rounds recently. What was the question about and what’s your stand on it?
GTD: No, There were lots of questions going around saying that Sikkim would be merged with Darjeeling and the blame being out to the SKM front and there were lot hue and cry, people were terrified, somewhere scared that this would really be a matter of concern and if this could materialize then the people of Sikkim would have it. So I took up the matter and put it forward to our hounourable chief minister who in his right earnest replied to all these queries and he did in such a way that the people were convinced.