LT seats not possible until State Govtproposes formula to Centre: LTVC

GANGTOK, 22 Jan: Limboo Tamang Voluntary Committee [LTVC] president, Yehang Tshong asserted that Limboo and Tamang seat reservation issue would not be resolved until the State government would not prepare formula for seat reservation. He mentioned that to present the demand of seat reservation for Limboo and Tamang to the Centre without any formula was just an eyewash. On the same, he demanded the state government to immediately prepare a feasible formula for seat reservation for Limboo and Tamang and to pass in the State Assembly before placing the issue to the Centre.

Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, Mr Tshong stated that LTVC has placed various memorandums to different Minister during these two years of SKM government but there was no any development so far in this issue. He alleged that the issue has become Bagpipers for Pipers for politicians for taking advantage of the crowd to raise this issue once or twice just to misguide the people and then disappears. He alleged that the Chief Minister has recently submitted a memorandum to BJP national president JP Nadda on LT seat reservation but it was just an eyewash as the memorandum was not accompanied with any formula for seat reservation. “SKM government has neither withdrawn Burman Commission report and 40 interim formula of the previous SDF government from the Centre till date nor proposing any new formula for seat reservation,” he said.

Mr Tshong stated that Sikkim Lok Sabha MP raised LT seat reservation issue inside the Parliament on 22 September last year during the zero hour where the demand was placed as per Article 332 which was a direct violation of the Article 371F. He alleged that the MP deliberately suppressed Article 371F through MoTA and MHA had replied him with two replies pertaining to the queries. On the same, he added that it was clearly mentioned in the reply on 15 and 16 July 2019 during monsoon session of the parliament that Article 371F (f) and Article 332 governs LT seat reservation in the State Assembly. He questioned that why MP and SKM hide the queries raised to MHA and replies given by MHA to MP from being public. He informed that MHA has also mentioned about a meeting of Sikkim government and National Commission for Scheduled Tribe regarding seat reservation.

On the same, Mr Tshong questioned Lok Sabha MP and the State government about the said meeting and about the formula was devised pertaining to LT seats reservation to LT seat reservation in the State Assembly.

He mentioned that SKM party had formed 10-member committee for LT seat reservation in the State Assembly on 22 December 2018 under the chairmanship of Janga Tamling but no report has been submitted by the committee to the State government even after two years. He also asked about the formula devised by the committee for the seat reservation in the State Assembly and why the report was not made public although all members in the committee were from LT communities.

He said that Sikkim BJP incharge and MP, Dr Sukanta Majumdar stated during a press conference that the Center was willing to resolve LT seat reservation issue provided the state prepares a formula and propose to the Centre. On the same, he added that this clearly shows that there was no seat reservation without formula.

Mr Tshong alleged that SKM government was not sincere towards LT communities as to demand LT seats as per Article 332 and tribal status for twelve leftout communities was indirectly supporting 40 seats formula and Burman Commission like the previous SDF government which was in itself a contradictory approach of SKM government towards LT communities’ rights using 371F for self-benefit and not for the welfare of the people. “In context of Sikkim, Article 371F being a non-obstante clause, provision of other Articles of the Constitution [170 & 332] do not apply in Sikkim therefore everything must be resolved within the ambit of Article 371F which is constitution of its own for Sikkim and its people,” he said.

He said the main agenda of SKM manifesto was LT seat reservation which also brought the party into the power and even SKM then MLA brought a private member resolution in 2016 demanding the SDF government to provide LT seats from 17 unreserved seats from existing 32 seats in the assembly, which was also supported by Sanga MLA, Sonam Lama. He further added that SKM party had also submitted numerous memorandums to the Centre supporting LT seats from 32 seats of the Assembly.

“LTVC’s stand is clear in this regard, the best and easiest solution is to provide seats from 32 existing seats. We are seeking our seats as LT [ST] seats under Article 371F (f) and Sikkim Subject Act 1974, where caste wise seat reservation is mentioned and is possible. Remedy of LT seats solution must be sought within the framework of Article 371F which is constitutional of its own for solution and Sikkimese people,” Mr Tshong asserted. He added that there should be increase in LT seats if incase the State Assembly increased from 32 to 40. He said LTVC would oppose any move to merge LT with new ST in future and the organization also want withdrawal of Burman Report and 40 interim formula of SDF government from the centre in written. Mr Tshong demands that SKM should fulfill its pre-poll promise in the earliest in the interest of LT communities.