Former Union minister and senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh has gone “missing” and the Darjeeling police have apparently not been able to locate the local MP even though he is very much in the public eye.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader would, perhaps, not find it funny but he has found himself in a peculiar position — named as a missing person in a police diary lodged at the Kalimpong police station, about 51 km from Darjeeling town.
The bizarre turn of events is linked to the renewed battle for a separate Gorkhaland state, an issue which had propelled Singh to the Lok Sabha from Darjeeling constituency in West Bengal.
In the run-up to the 2009 general elections, the BJP and Singh had made a strong pitch for creating Gorkhaland state.
Now, Gorkhaland activists suspect he is trying to avoid addressing the burning issue and remaining silent even though the entire Darjeeling Hills have come to a standstill due to an indefinite bandh launched from Saturday.
Singh’s roots are in Rajasthan from where he began his political career. Singh had won the last Lok Sabha elections from Darjeeling, backed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which is spearheading the movement for a separate state.
The missing person diary was lodged by the Gorkhaland Task Force, a conglomeration of pro-Gorkhaland outfits, on Friday.
GTF leader Manish Tamang explained the circumstances leading to the police diary .
“Recently, we had gone to Delhi with the Gorkhaland demand and had tried to meet our MP Jaswant Singh. We were told he was not in Delhi but in Darjeeling. But after returning, we could not locate him in Darjeeling. Hence, we lodged a missing diary. Now that he is required to speak for Gorkhaland he has gone missing,” Tamang said.
Gorkha Task Force delegation at the Kalimpong Police station on Friday. Agency photo.
Achinto Gupta, inspector in-charge of Kalimpong police station confirmed lodging of the missing diary in the name of the local MP.
He did not say whether they had launched a search for Singh, who told a news channel on Saturday the “clamour” for naming a prime ministerial candidate ahead of the polls was a new phenomenon.
Though Singh could not be reached for comment, a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha delegation managed to meet him in Delhi on Saturday. “We asked him to raise the issue of Gorkhaland in the monsoon session of Parliament (starting Monday),” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said.
Sources in the GJM said Singh was aware of the growing anger among his voters in Darjeeling and may brief the media on the issue on Tuesday. Till the MP speaks out, he is officially missing for the supporters of Gorkhaland.