Veteran journalist Kazi floats 'Sikkim United'

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Gangtok, Feb 20 (UNI) The 'Sikkim United' (SU), a new political party, was today launched by Jigme N Kazi, a veteran journalist.

The SU would strive to protect the interests of all the ethnic groups like Nepalis, Bhutias, Lepchas and others, who have settled in the state, Mr Kazi said at a press conference.

''The SU's main issues are political rights of the Sikkimese people based on the Article 371 F of the Constitution, a special provision for Sikkim,'' said Mr Kazi.

Claiming that the Article 371 F has been violated and diluted by the Centre, Mr Kazi said his party was committed to fight for restoration of seats for Sikkimese Nepalis in the 32-member state Assembly.

Presently, there are 17 general seats and 12 seats reserved for Bhutia and Lepcha communities (six each), two SC seats and one Sangha (monk body) seat.

''We don't want the Sikkimese Nepalis to be divided into OBC and other groups. We want their political rights to be restored'', said Mr Kazi. ''If the seats for Sikkimese Nepalis are not protected, tomorrow they may be a minority, he opined.

Regarding the political rights of the Limboo and Tamang communities of Sikkim who have been left out of the Delimitation report, Mr Kazi said it was a 'great injustice' to the two communities. ''They have been discriminated and deprived of their political rights and Centre should address to their problems'', he said.

The new party also called for a fresh delimitation of the state Assembly constituencies as per Article 371 F. ''We are not satisfied with the delimitation report of Sikkim,'' said Mr Kazi. The party will also pursue its objective of identification of non-Sikkimese subjects through a cut-off year.

UNI BG PC RR RK1823

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