Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Nar Bahadur Bhandari supports separate Gorkhaland state

Gangtok, Oct 07: Sikkim State Congress President Nar Bahadur Bhandari on Sunday supported the demand for formation of a separate Gorkhaland state.

"Only the formation of separate Gorkhaland state could fulfil the aspirations of the hill people of Darjeeling and surrounding areas.... The special autonomous status under the sixth schedule of the constitution was not sufficient for economic development of the region," he said.

The former Sikkim chief minister said he would espouse the cause of a separate Gorkhaland state even as he took a dig at the GNLF chief Subash Ghising for distancing himself from the demand of the statehood by expressing satisfaction at the centre's decision for according special status to the hill region under the sixth schedule.

Referring to the political developments in Sikkim, Bhandari slammed Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling for undertaking foreign tour and celebrating his birthday in the aircraft at a time when the state was reeling under acute shortage of essential commodities.

On the ongoing poll process for the local bodies, the state congress chief alleged that the polls were ill-timed. He also accused the ruling SDF for adopting coercive tactics against the opposition and independent candidates.

Bhandari further alleged that the SDF government has failed to maintain law and order situation and claimed that the maoist insurgents from Nepal were making a "safe refuge" in the mountain state.