The newly launched Darjeeling Dooars United Development Foundation held its third public meeting at Mela ground in Kalimpong. The meeting was held as a campaign for 2014 Lok Sabha elections to garner support in favour of Dr. Mahendra P Lama, who will contest as an independent candidate from Darjeeling constituency. Addressing the gathering, Lama asserted being present in Parliament is foremost and mandatory step for formation of a separate state.
Stating that winning the MP seat is one of the six key steps of gaining statehood, Lama said he would disclose the rest of the steps after becoming an MP. Lama also criticized the way the Gorkhaland movement was carried out till now, saying that 90% of the movement has been fueled by emotions while only 10% was juridical, when the process needs to be the other way round. Lama gave major attention to the issue of development in his speech. “Development is a right not a gift” he claimed and added “Development is reaching other parts of the country but we don’t have access to it even when we are demanding for it.”
Without naming anyone Dr. Lama also ridiculed their claims of fostering development in the hills stating the individuals who have claimed so are bringing in disasters instead. He said national and international organizations have to be brought for bringing about development in the region. Lama informed if he wins the elections, his main focus would be the demand for a separate state and inclusion of Darjeeling region in North East Council.
Dr. Lama mentioned even thought the demand of a separate state has been raised for almost 107 years; it was raised in Parliament only some six to eight times after independence. He pressed that raising the issue in Parliament is necessary for gaining statehood. Lama also made public the Foundation’s 25 chartered agenda. He opined the implementation of three tier panchayat system in the hills is impossible at present. He said for this amendment has to be made in section 243 of Article 9 of the Indian Constitution, while expressing astonishment that no MP has voiced for changes in the law book since its introduction in 1992. He also promised of making the necessary changes in the law to conduct three tier panchayat elections in the hills.
The meeting attended by around a thousand supporters was also addressed by Gharatia Gorkha Parisangh national president Dr. Enos Das Pradhan. Talking about the rumors of TMC fielding Bhaichung Bhutia as its candidate in the forthcoming LS polls, Pradhan said if the TMC is concerned about the hills it should give Bhaichung membership in state assembly and support Lama in the LS elections. He also informed the BGP will file an RTI to inquire if Darjeeling MLA Jaswant Singh has utilized the MLA funds properly.
The public meeting was also addressed by GRNM president Dawa Pakhring, AIGL leader Kumar Pradhan, GTF coordinator R Moktan, Bhawani Sharma and Usha Kiran Lama among others.