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BJP not to commit anything on ‘Gorkhaland’ Issue : Ahluwalia

SILIGURI : Political compulsion is always strong enough to soften rigid ideological standpoint - especially if it becomes an issue of election chemistry. BJP and its stand point on separate statehood for Darjeeling hills in West Bengal is a burning example. BJP advocates in favour of smaller states throughout the whole country as its common policy. But, it is not going to make any clear commitment in its election manifesto to allow separate statehood for Darjeeling- as it is being demanded in the name of 'Gorkhaland.'  But at the same time, BJP needs to keep the pro-separatist force Gorkha Janamukti Morcha(GJM), the strongest political power in Darjeeling, in own side. In Darjeeling constituency, GJM is the partner of BJP for its heavy weight candidate and Vice president Mr. S S Ahluwalia.

"We have mentioned in our 2009 election manifesto about our commitment to 'consider' the 'aspiration and expectation' of hills people 'sympathetically.' This time also it will be so," said Mr. Ahluwalia. Clear enough, the party is not going to commit anything in black and white in favour of Gorkhaland formation. In 2009, despite faint footprint of BJP in Darjeeling, its top leader Mr. Jaswant Singh won from there with margin of 1.5 lakh- only due to overwhelming support of GJM. BJP is following the same formula this time too for Mr. Ahluwalia. But, at its rapid growth phase in West Bengal now, BJP is not at all ready to cause any displeasure of lion's share of voters in most of the constituencies out of 42 seats in the state who are clearly against any split within the state. Moreover, out of 14.15 lakh voters in Darjeeling constituency, though majority of 6.11 lakh voters from hilly areas are hardcore supporters of Gorkhaland statehood, rest 8 lakh voters from plains are mostly against that.

Keeping this in mind, Mr. Ahluwalia added, "In democracy, while it is not unconstitutional for a party to demand for separate state. At the same time, it is not unfair for another part of populace to think in other way," he added. However, as it is being done this time with Mr. Ahluwalia, GJM projected Mr. Jaswant Singh too in 2009 in front of common hill dwellers as Darjeeling's ambassador to fight in favour of 'Gorkhaland.' But as per record, only 2 out of 18 debates he took part in during his 5 years long tenure had any relevance to Darjeeling. He did not raise any question or private member bill during this long period. "We may have to witness a repetition of the same picture again," saying many hill dwellers now.
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