Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, July 5: S.S. Ahluwalia today became the first MP from Darjeeling to be inducted into the Union cabinet since Independence and the move has come as a big relief to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha which had so far little to show to its supporters on its alliance with the BJP.
Moments after Ahluwalia administered the oath of office and secrecy at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Morcha chief Bimal Gurung issued a press release extending heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and congratulating Ahluwalia on his new role.
“This is for the 1st time since independence that any MP from Darjeeling has been inducted into the Union Cabinet, and reflects the respect and inclusion that BJP government has accorded to the people living in Darjeeling and Dooars region,” said Gurung.
He further said: “It is important to note that with Ahluwaliaji joining the Union Cabinet, not only Darjeeling but then entire North Bengal region will find representation at the highest policy making body in the land, who can push for transforming our region for the better.”
Observers say the Morcha was under pressure to show that its alliance with the BJP would pay in the long run. “During the election campaign, the Morcha had projected Ahluwalia as the future Union home minister. There were also promises of a separate department for tea industry. Then, there were demands for a central university and tribal status for 10 hill communities,” said an observer.
“Till date, apart from forming a committee to look into the tribal status demand, there was no progress on other issues,” said the observer.