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Jaswant Singh saddened by elections sans issues in Darjeeling

Darjeeling:  MP Jaswant Singh, now out of reckoning with his party, the BJP, says he is satisfied the demand for Gorkhaland is on the right path despite strong opposition from the state government. Interacting with reporters today in Darjeeling, the former BJP veteran said he would always remain at hand in Delhi to extend full support to resolve the problems of the hills. “Five years have passed at a blink of the eye. But I am happy the Gorkhaland issue has made immense progress. This in spite of the state government’s opposition to any division of the state,” said Singh. However, the former union minister stopped short of referring to the statehood demand while reflecting his tenure of five years as the MP from Darjeeling. “I have assured the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha I will extend all support in Delhi to solve any problems related to the hills if it is possible through me,” he said. 

Singh is contesting from his home constituency of Barmer in Rajasthan as an independent candidate after the BJP refused to give him a ticket for that seat. He refused to comment on the prospects of the BJP or its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, but rued the ongoing election was not being fought over issues. “The question is not of who will win or form the next government. But key issues pertaining to the national economy and security of the country have been overlooked and this is a huge challenge,” observed the veteran politician. He also said he is saddened by such a development. “It is definitely disheartening there are only political discussions on individuals and not on issues. I say this because of my experience after contesting in 16 elections. I also do not want to comment on the chief minister of Gujarat or any other leader,” he added. 

 Without taking any name, the legislator said he is hopeful the next MP from Darjeeling would take up development issues of the hills with all sincerity. “There are existing problems in terms of medical facilities, roads and highways, drinking water and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, among many others, which should be addressed by the new MP. I want to see the hills prospering and developing peacefully,” said Singh, adding he would make it a point to visit the region at least twice in a year in future. Earlier in the day, GJM leaders led by party general secretary Roshan Giri paid a courtesy visit to the MP and thanked him for his support in highlighting the statehood demand in national mainstream politics. “The five years we shared have been good and we want to thank Singhji for raising the statehood demand in Parliament for the first time and promoting it in the national level,” said Giri, addressing a joint press conference at a hotel where Singh will be staying till May 8.

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