Gangtok, Sep 27 (UNI) The Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) today appealed to the Bhutia Lepcha (BL) community to contest the coming Panchayat elections to protest the state government's alleged failure to give proper reservation to the BL community.
''I appeal to all the BL candidates to contest the Panchayat elections,'' SIBLAC convenor Tseten Tashi Bhutia said at a press meet.
Panchayat elections are slated for October 26.
The SIBLAC had been demanding that reservation should be provided to the minority BL community in the Panchayat elections as BL seats and not as Scheduled Tribe (ST) seats.
Meanwhile, the state government announced 44 per cent reservation for the ST community in the coming rural body elections which included the Bhutia, Lepcha, Limboo and Tamang communities.
However, the BL community was provided 12 seats as per Article 371 F of the Constitution in the state Assembly as BL seats and not ST seats.
The SIBLAC had demanded similar reservation for the BL community on the lines of Assembly reservation.
Accusing the state government of suppressing the BL community and denying them their constitutional rights, the SIBLAC said it feared that the political rights of the BL community would be diluted in the future with this Panchayat precedent.
The SIBLAC also came down heavily on the 12 BL MLAs of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front for not speaking on behalf of the community.