Jaswant vows to fight for Gorkhaland

The Telegraph

Bagdogra, Sept. 15: Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh today said he would continue to strive for the creation of Gorkhaland, despite his expulsion from the BJP.

“My plan to support the creation of Gorkhaland remains unaltered. It is a personal and political aim of mine to work for formation of the state and has nothing to do with my present status,” said Singh who is on a four-day visit to the hills. This is the MP’s first trip to Darjeeling after he was ousted from the BJP.

Asked whether he can have the same confidence to work for the statehood as the BJP is not behind him, Singh said: “The BJP leaders support the demand for Gorkhaland and recently have made statements on the issue, reaffirming their stand. We feel as the BJP is still supporting the demand, it will definitely help in achieving Gorkhaland.”

The Darjeeling MP, who was introduced in his book Jinnah: India-Partition Independence as “….Member of Parliament, in the Lok Sabha, having successfully contested the 2009 elections from the hill state of Darjeeling…” admitted that reference to the “hill state of Darjeeling” was a “publishing error”.

It was The Telegraph that had first pointed out the discrepancy.

“I came to know of this publishing error. The concerned publisher has accordingly rectified the errors in the next editions,” the MP said.

Singh, who is likely to travel to the three subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong during his stay in the hills, said he was hunting for a house. “I have seen a number of houses in the hills but the prices were high and do not suit my pockets,” he said in a lighter vein before heading for the hills with his wife, grandnephew and associate Capt Bhawani Singh. “I will, however, definitely buy one house in the hills soon,” he added.

On the nature of interaction with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, the Darjeeling MP said: “This is one of my regular visits and I plan to return (to Delhi) on September 19. However, during the visit, it’s natural that discussion will be held with the Morcha leaders.”

Asked on BJP president Rajnath Singh’s comments over Jinnah and himself in the wake of the book controversy, Singh underlined the need for maintaining democracy in the party. “He is the party president and can make such comments but there has to be democracy in the BJP because if you stop a person from expressing his opinion (writing a book), it affects a lot.”

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