Gangtok, 07 May:
The Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee has extended best wishes to the Sikkimese people on the occasion of the anniversary of the signing of the Tripartite Agreement which was signed on 08 May, 1973.
The State Congress has remembered the day as the beginning of a new era for Sikkim.
“It was on this day, 43 years ago, the 08 May Tripartite Agreement 1973, was reached between the Durbar, Government of India and the people of Sikkim. This was the resultant consensus settlement after the historic peoples’ movement of 1973, better known as the 1973 agitation. This agitation in itself was an outburst of the peoples’ long cherished desire to end the oppressions of monarchic rule, and was triggered by certain electoral violations in the form of alleged rigging of council elections in some booths in south Sikkim, that led to the victory of a pro-king political party,” an SPCC press release details.
The release further reminds that “it was based on this agreement that the one man-one vote principle was introduced and general elections held on 13 April, 1974, which was the first and last such elections of Independent Sikkim.”
“The elected assembly headed by Late Lendup Dorji Kazi abolished Chogyal rule and annexed Sikkim to be India’s 22nd state in 1975, though several political leaders actually desired a constitutional monarchy akin to United Kingdom. Sikkim has since then, moved on to flourish as an integral part of India,” the release adds.
The release goes on to highlight that Article 371F of the Constitution of India, which sets the terms of the merger, was based on of this Agreement and goes on to claim that it was the Congress party that ushered democracy in Sikkim with Article 371F.
The release goes on to comment that the “progress and prosperity that Sikkim has witnessed so far has been largely due to the special status it enjoys” and central grants, loans and various central schemes, and complains that despite Congress’ “important contributions,” the party has been “the victim of negative propaganda by regional political forces for many years.”
The party also sees a “political conspiracy” to do away with Article 371F in recent political developments like the proposal to “increase assembly seats from 32 to 40 on the pretext of providing Limboo-Tamang seats, demands of Darjeeling and Sikkim’s unification and implementation of Citizenship Amendment Bill and the uniform civil code by the Bharatiya Janata Party,”
These moves will also erase the historical basis of Sikkim’s unique identity, the 08 May Agreement 1973, the only document signed by our former ruler and the only official document to prove we are Sikkimese of Bhutia, Lepcha or Nepali origin, the release fears, while concluding with an appeal to the younger generation “to protect the interests of all the three constitutionally recognised ethnic communities of Sikkim…”