Jan Andolan Party places statehood demand on top in election manifesto


Kalimpong, March 25: The Jan Andolan Party headed by Harka Bahadur Chhetri has listed the statehood demand on top of its election manifesto and said the outfit will work towards it by carving out Darjeeling district and parts of the Dooars by building consensus both at the Centre and the state.

When Kalimpong MLA Chhetri had launched the party (JAP) on January 27 this year, its manifesto had said the outfit would work towards “the eventual attainment of a separate state” but also focus on other issues concerning the Darjeeling hills and work towards achieving those “step by step”.

Asked about his stand on Gorkhaland, Chhetri who had taken up the Kalimpong district demand had said last year a separate state might not be achieved by the present generation: “We are at primary school. Gorkhaland is a university. We will first have to think of getting to a secondary school and then to a college. Maybe, we will not be able to reach the university in our generation, the next generation possibly can,” he had said.

The JAP’s 10-page election manifesto that The Telegraph had access to a day before its release, would be published by party chief Chhetri after he submits his nomination for the Kalimpong seat tomorrow.

Jan Andolan Party places statehood demand on top in election manifesto
Jan Andolan Party (JAP) head Harka Bahadur Chhetriin Kalimpong on Friday.

“Nowhere in India has the creation of new states led to the proliferation of secessionist demands. The Party intends to build opinion and consensus in the Centre and State on the formation of a separate state consisting of Darjeeling District and portions of the Dooars under Article 3 of the Indian Constitution. Unless this opinion and consensus is built, a separate state cannot be realised by rabid cultural nationalism alone,” it states.

“The Jan Andolan Party pledges and assures to its people that it will work towards the goal of autonomy and self-governance by the eventual attainment of a separate state of the region based on the principle of inclusiveness, cultural harmony, economic and political rationality…; provided that pending the creation of a separate state, the Union Government should make a special arrangement having constitutional protection and greater autonomy for the people of Darjeeling District and the Dooars,” it reads.

The party has sought to connect the creation of Kalimpong district to statehood.

“… Months before the creation of the Jana Andolan Party, our President Dr. Harka Bahadur Chhetri had been working tirelessly towards this goal which resulted in the Cabinet approval of the proposal by the Government of West Bengal on 18th December 2015… The Jana Andolan Party pledges and assures to its people that it will move heaven and earth to ensure that the district of Kalimpong is up and running without delay.”

The manifesto also says it would take up the demand for land rights of tea and cinchona workers and forest dwellers and Scheduled Tribe status for various communities.


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