National People’s Party opens unit in north Bengal, backs Gorkhaland
The NPP on Thursday opened its first unit in Kalimpong in North Bengal.Updated: Sep 25, 2020, 00:17 IST
The National People’s Party (NPP) led by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma is trying to gain ground in the hills of north Bengal, where Gorkhas are in majority, by raising the Gorkhaland issue.
The NPP on Thursday opened its first unit in Kalimpong. The party’s local functionaries said Sangma will visit the region soon.
The development came 20 days after Sangma wrote a letter to Union home minister Amit Shah expressing his support for creation of a separate state for Gorkhas.
“The Gorkhas too are rightful Indian citizens who deserve to have their own identity and Bas Bhoomi (homeland),” he wrote, highlighting the contributions of the community during freedom struggle.
Kenza Foning, the north Bengal coordinator of NPP, said, “The long term goal of our party is separation of Darjeeling and Kalimpong from West Bengal.”
The NPP’s plan has not gone well with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binoy Tamang faction).
Keshav Raj Pokhrel, GJM (Tamang) spokesperson, said, “When P A Sangma was chief minister of Meghalaya in the 1980s many Gorkhas were driven out of the state. It is ironic that Sangma’s son is now talking about Gorkhaland while Gorkhas in Meghalaya are still treated as second-class citizens.”
The Gorkha National Liberation Front and All India Gorkha League have, however, welcomed the NPP.
Sangma is the second chief minister to support the Gorkhaland issue. In March 2011, when Pawan Chamling was the chief minister, the Sikkim state assembly adopted a resolution in favour of creation of Gorkhaland.