No comments from Lama on Hill issue

The Statesman

Kurseong, 25 July
The noted academician and former Sikkim University Vice-Chancellor, Mr Mahendra P Lama, who has decided to contest from the Darjeeling constituency for the next year’s Lok Sabha polls, has declined to comment on the demand to merge Darjeeling Hills in Sikkim by way of solving the long-dragging Hill imbroglio in Bengal. “We are for carving out a separate state of Gorkhaland. This is our paramount demand,” he said when pressed for comment on the contentious issue being propped up from several quarters.
Notably, the Gorkha Rashtriya Congress has been demanding Darjeeling’s merger with Sikkim on the argument that the whole of the Hills and some parts of Siliguri were parts of Sikkim. “These were annexed from Sikkim from time to time in course of wars fought and treaties executed from time to time. We are quite justified thus in demanding the merger of Darjeeling Hills in Sikkim. We met the central Congress leaders in January this year in Delhi to press them for the merger. We will meet them again in the first week of August to press the same,” said the GRC president, Mr Nima Lama.
He further said the people from the rural areas of both Darjeeling Hills and Sikkim are with them. “Those from the villages in Bengal’s Hills are supporting us for they know that Gorkhaland would remain a pipe dream,” he said.
Asked whether his party would support Mr Lama’s candidature, the GRC president answered in the positive.
“We will support him, for he too believes like us that the merger of Darjeeling with Sikkim is the best solution,” he added.
The GRC delegation would leave for Delhi on 3 August, he informed.


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