Bagdogra (West Bengal), Sept 16 (ANI): Expelled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh has said that his support to the creation of a separate Gorkhaland state remains unchanged despite his ouster from the party.
Speaking to reporters at the airport, he said that not only he, even his former party BJP is committed to the cause of Gorkhaland.
"My support to Gorkhaland remains the same. There is no change. That is the commitment I have made, which is personal and political. The BJP, which is my former party, has also affirmed that their position on Gorkhaland is unaltered. We support the creation of Gorkhaland as a separate state," said Jaswant Singh.
Presently, Singh is on a five-day visit to Darjeeling and other areas. This is his first visit after being expelled from the BJP.
Jaswant Singh was expelled from the BJP for applauding Mohammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan in his controversial book 'Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence'.
His expulsion came as a big blow to the members of the ethnic Gorkha community, who have sought a separate state to be carved out from West Bengal.
The Gorkhas have contended that the issue of Gorkhaland was spelt out in the election manifesto of BJP and as such Singh's ouster will have change the party's stand and it will abide by the pre-poll promises spelt out in the manifesto.
At least 1,200 people died in the first Gorkhaland campaign in the 1980s. The mass protests ended a few years later after Gorkha leaders accepted limited autonomy with the formation of a Hills Council.
However, this mechanism did not work out successfully, leading to the split in the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), the forerunner of Gorkhaland agitation.
Subash Gheising, the founder of GNLF was ousted and his opponents formed the parallel Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
The GJM canvassed extensively for the election of Jaswant Singh. (ANI)