'Aspirations of people of the Hills will be fulfilled in consultation with State'

Darjeeling: In an answer to questions in the Lok Sabha, the Union Home ministry has stated that the aspirations of the people (read Gorkhas) would be met within the Constitutional framework and in consultation with the Government of West Bengal.

Gaurav Gogoi, two term MP from Assam and Deputy Leader, Lok Sabha Indian National Congress had raised a set of questions regarding a political solution for Gorkhas in West Bengal.

Answering the questions Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Government of India on Monday replied: "The all-round development of the Gorkhas including those living in West Bengal is one of the top priorities of the Government. In a meeting with the representatives of Gorkhas on 12-10-2021, it was mentioned that the aspirations of the people would be met within the Constitutional framework and in consultation with the Government of West Bengal."

The five questions raised by Gogoi included whether the Government can provide the status of Permanent Political Solution related to the Gorkhas in West Bengal; whether the government can provide the details of the tripartite talks held so far; the major claims and demands of the parties involved and the major decisions arrived at and whether the Government has set a deadline for concluding the tripartite talks and implementing a mutually-agreed upon the permanent political solution- the details thereof.

Minister Rai's reply was in answer to all the five questions. With the Centre declaring that the permanent political solution will be worked out in consultation with the State Government, chances of separation from Bengal in the form of a separate state or Union Territory stands near negated, feel political observers.

Interestingly the BJP during the last Lok Sabha elections had assured of a Permanent Political Solution for Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars in the Sankalp Patra (party's election manifesto.)

However, till date no clear picture of what the permanent political solution will be, has emerged.

On 12-10-2021, the Union Home minister Amit Shah had chaired a meeting with BJP allies from the Darjeeling Hills along with the BJP MPs and MLAs of the region on "Permanent Political Solution."

Even Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during an administrative meeting in Kurseong recently had advised that a committee be formed with representatives of political parties to chalk out a Permanent Political Solution within the ambit of the State of West Bengal.

Meanwhile, the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) embarked on a postering campaign in the Hills demanding that the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration be scrapped.

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