“Chamling only good at winning elections, not at working for Sikkimese”
GANGTOK, 02 JAN:
Hamro Sikkim Party vice president, Bhaichung Bhutia has said that he has made a long-term commitment to serve the people of Sikkim by taking active part in the state politics.
“Yes, my commitment to stay in state politics is long-term and I am also going to contest the forthcoming Sikkim Assembly polls, besides fulfilling any responsibility that my party, Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP), entrusts on me,” said Mr Bhutia in conversation with Summit Times.
On Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling’s assurance to give government jobs to 20,000 unemployed youths months before the election, he said, “What has he been doing all these years for eradication of unemployment in Sikkim which is the second highest in the country?”
“It is his inability to create jobs which has led to a lot of unhappiness and alarming rate of suicide in Sikkim,” Mr Bhutia alleged.
He added that this scheme was just an election gimmick to remain in power as he went on to claim that the SDF was losing its hold in South and West districts.
The SDF government has broken all rules and never bothered about financial implications of the CM’s decisions, as a result the state government does not have money to pay arrears of its employees after implementation of 5th Pay Commission report, Mr Bhutia added.
“Chamling is only good at winning elections. He knows how to play vote bank politics and get into power,” Mr Bhutia contended, adding that it is more important to work for the people after winning elections.
He added further that it does not matter how long Mr Chamling has been in office Sikkim but what matters is how much work he has done in all these years.
“What I know is that Mr Chamling has left a huge debt of upto Rs 60,000 crore on Sikkim by taking various populist and short-sighted decisions meant for his own political survival all these years,” said Mr Bhutia.
Mr Bhaichung said that he has chosen to take the plunge into Sikkim politics to usher in a change of government with other like-minded parties because the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government led by the Chief Minister has proved to be a disaster for the people.
“Chamling is an elected dictator who behaves like a monarch...he is also big-time corrupt,” the 44 year-old Mr Bhutia said, adding that his continuation in office will be injurious to democracy, governance and the economy of Sikkim.
The HSP vice-president also alleged that the Chief Minister has kept a vice-like grip on his party, not allowing any colleague to grow up and emerge as a leader.
“There has never been a second person or leader in the SDF in its 25 years’ existence. It is Chamling and Chamling alone,” Mr Bhutia said.
In the functioning of the government too, the Chief Minister takes all decisions, big or small, on his own rendering his ministerial colleagues and bureaucrats without any real power or freedom, Mr Bhutia alleged.
On electoral prospects of an opposition alliance to take on SDF at the hustings, Mr Bhutia said that a serious deliberation was going on with BJP and like-minded parties and a coalition will be ready soon.
He said that his party may contest upto 18-20 assembly seats, with he himself being a candidate from one of those seats.
Mr Bhutia said that protection and preservation of the rights of the three indigenous communities - Lepcha, Bhutia and Sikkimese Nepalese - enshrined in Article 371F will be his party’s top agenda in the upcoming elections.
On Corruption Charges
The Hamro Sikkim Party leader also charged the Chief Minister with committing huge corruption in power projects and claimed that Mr Chamling had sanctioned 36 power projects despite non-viability of most of these projects.
“Not for nothing, most of the files related to power projects have got destroyed in a mysterious fire at the Power department building recently,” he claimed.
He said that if his party or a coalition government minus Mr Chamling is voted to power, an inquiry will be launched into the mysterious fire in the record room as well as corruption in the power sector.
The next government will ask the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take up probe into various corruption charges against Mr Chamling, said Mr Bhutia.
On Organic Farming
Poking holes in Sikkim’s Organic Mission, the HSP vice president said that food production has gone down by 65 per cent in Sikkim and land meant for agriculture has cut down by half during Mr Chamling’s over two-decade rule.
“Sikkim relies on outside for food and to centre for money,” he stated.
“Mr Chamling has simply failed to make Sikkim a self-sustained state by generating own revenues to meet its various needs,” Mr Bhutia rued.
On Improvement of Sports
Sikkim needs small infrastructures to improve sports in rural area and not Rs 40-50 crore infrastructures, said the former Indian football skipper, adding that the huge infrastructures which have been under construction for years is not taking any shape.
There is no improvement of sports in the state as the environment has to be created to encourage young minds in sporting arena, he believes.
Mr Bhutia said that he will try to create an environment to encourage the Sikkimese youth to take up football in a big way like Mizoram whose 70-80 young footballers are playing for various top clubs across the country.
Improving education and sports infrastructure will be another key agenda to overcome high suicide rate in Sikkim as studies and games will keep younger generation engaged in life, he said.