Friday, September 28, 2007

Row over seat reservation in Sikkim

GANGTOK, Sept. 27: Members of the Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee today accused the State Election Commission of diluting the Bhutia community with other tribal communities."We have been enjoying set reservation for a long time. However, the Election Commission has of late diluted us with other tribal communities which is not fair," said Mr Tsheten Tashi Bhutia, president of SIBLAC. "We have been granted political rights by the Parliament and not by the state government. Hence, the state has no right to snatch our political rights," he added. The SIBLAC members have written several letters to state government officials, pleading for protection of their political rights. "The Election Commission officials and the MLAs are not responding to our requests," Mr Bhutia, said. "The reason why we are demanding seat reservation is that we had sacrificed Sikkim to India," he added. The state government officials, however, said they do not have any hands in State Election Commission as it is an independent body. "The state offers separate seat reservation to Lepcha and Bhutia only in general elections and not in the rural polls," said Mr BB Gurung, political advisor to chief minister Mr Pawan Chamling.