SPNCP demands Presidential ordinance Tribal Seats in Sikkim Assembly

Ashoke Tsong. Photo by Sikkim Express
Ashoke Tsong. Photo by Sikkim Express

Gangtok, Feb 3  Adding a new twist to vexed Limboo Tamang seat reservation issue, Sikkim Pradesh Nationalist Congress Party (SPNCP) has sought a Presidential ordinance for declaring ‘5 seats in the State Assembly as STs’ before the coming elections for delivering political justice to the two tribal communities
“During my recent meeting with the President of India, we have demanded a Presidential ordinance for the political rights of the tribal Limboo and Tamang communities”, said SPNCP president Mr. Ashoke Tsong in a press meet today here at Gangtok.
The party president had just returned from New Delhi where he submitted a memorandum to the President of India demanding the early resolution of the Limboo Tamang seat reservation issue before the elections.
Just like the Bhutia Lepcha communities of Sikkim got their 13 seats in the Assembly in 1979 through a Presidential ordinance, we have demanded a similar ordinance for 5 ST seats in the State Assembly so that the tribal Limboo Tamang communities can enjoy their political rights guaranteed by the Constitution, said Mr. Tsong. And this should be done before the forthcoming elections, he said. The President has assured to look into our demand, he added.
We have also sought an appointment with the Governor here to submit our plea, said Mr. Tsong.
Continuing his pitch for five ST seats in the Assembly, SPNCP president also said in explicit terms that now the Bhutia Lepcha communities in Sikkim have to decide on their nomenclature.
“It is high time that Bhutia Lepcha communities of Sikkim should decide whether they want to be defined as BLs or STs. They cannot enjoy both status and take benefits politically as BLs and other social benefits as STs. There cannot be two type of STs in the nation”, said Mr. Tsong. If this present system continues, reaction may be seen in future, he said.
At the same time, Mr. Tsong asserted that he was not against the Bhutia Lepcha communities but merely ‘fighting for the political rights of Limboo Tamang communities’. I am not saying that the BL seats should be decreased but they should choose what kind of definition they want, he said.
With the seat reservation issue set to become a major election agenda for the opposition parties, the SPNCP had recently visited their central party high command and Election Commission of India in New Delhi.
It may be added here that the SDF government had passed a resolution in the State Assembly in its last sitting demanding the Centre to expand the House to 40 seats from the existing 32 seats in order to accommodate the newly added Schedule Tribes of Limboo and Tamang in the Assembly.
“Sikkim is the only State in the nation which has no tribal seats and great injustice has been perpetrated on the tribal Limboo and Tamang communities who were deprived of their due political rights in 2004 elections and is heading toward the same direction in this forthcoming Assembly elections due in April-May”, said Mr. Tsong. The Central leaders also agree that great injustice has been done to the two communities, he added.
The SPNCP pinned the responsibility on the ruling SDF party and Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for this denial of the political rights to the two communities.
Mr. Chamling and the five Limboo Tamang MLAs are behind this sabotage of the political rights of the two communities, said Mr. Tsong. The MLAs of the two communities have sacrificed the political rights of Limboo Tamang communities for their chair and greed, he accused. The political rights of Limboo Tamang communities of Sikkim were first deprived by LD Kazi in 1975, Nar Bahadur Bhandari in 1984 and then by Pawan Chamling in 2006, he said.
Mr. Tsong warned of a ‘peoples’ revolution’ in Sikkim if the issue is not solved before the elections. Fifteen days is sufficient to bring a change in Sikkim, he said.