For someone inspiring to be the bringer of change, there is no better place to be that change maker than in your country, with your own people and in your own state. Such is the underlying guiding idea of India’s famous international football player, Bhaichung Bhutia who has now launched “Hamro Sikkim Party”. He is a man of wisdom and is a revolutionary in his own way. For him, politics is what regulates the country thus justifying his decision to become a full time social worker and politician. For him, the corruption of a government is the pest infecting the system.
Recently in an interview with our consulting editor, Vishwajeet Sinha, he opened up about his ideas on entering the politics and setting up his own party in Sikkim. Eradication of unemployment, drug abuse and suicide amongst youngsters are not just the superficial issues of the day but for the footballer has been active in politics in Bengal so his experience is what makes him more inclined to rise for the socially charged and demanding arena of politics and working for people.
Vishwajeet : “What do you think needs to change in Sikkim?”
Bhaichung : “Being a special state under the constitution of India, CBI is barred from entering the state so a lot of heed is needed from within the hilly state to weed out corruption. This current regime doesn’t have the political will for it. It is true that employment has been generated through Government and private investments in an undesirably large number of hydropower projects in a small earthquake prone forest state like Sikkim and decent enough pharmaceutical companies. I am all for Development and Ease of doing business, but what about farmers and environmental balance? What about Sustainable Development? This has been ignored by the current regime in Sikkim. There is pathetic focus on the skill development within Sikkim by the current state government and parallel industrial development in the state which has resulted in migration of a lot of Sikkimese population to other states. To reverse these blunders in governance, our party aims at fighting for all the 32 MLA seats in the next state elections.
The major highlights of the political agenda in addition to these issues are protecting Article 371, honouring the agreement of 1974, protecting Limboo and Tamang, and honouring the seats reserved for Tsong community, the Nepali counterparts in Sikkim apart from Bhutia and Limboo community.”
Vishwajeet : “What are your views on Nationalism? Will you be aligning with any national party or alliance?”
Bhaichung : “The statement made by the current CM Pawan Kumar Chamling on the Doklam issue was shocking to say the least. We find it extremely important to work towards National Integration, and not scare people away. Sikkim is a border state and hence extremely sensitive. Meanwhile the government works as a part of NDA so there is this idea of us developing a strong base for the party and then thinking to collaborate with some bigger forerunner. Working at the grass root level the change of guard in Sikkim is necessary. The anti-incumbency against the ruling government of the last twenty-five years is massive and hence I find myself working with younger generation to fulfil their aspirations.”
Vishwajeet : “What would you like to change in Sikkim?”
Bhaichung : “The pathetic state of infrastructure and water-electricity essentials is still a farfetched dream for the most in the state. While Health facilities, Education is again at the worst so there is a lot which we aim at bringing to the state with our political endeavours. We aim at the sustainable development of the earth quake prone forest state. For the state which claims to be ‘first organic state’, ironically does not have much in terms of actual organic consumption. The state government imports a lot of food and vegetables from outside Sikkim, so healthy food eating habits in Sikkim are the state government’s propaganda and the agricultural landscape has instead been allowed to get ruined by the state government. We look forward to rebuilding Sikkim as the self-sustaining land where our own farmers grow crops, and the state purchases food grains rather than importing. Sadly, the natural beauty of Sikkim has been lost to a lot of government projects of hydropower generation.
We seek to establish a harmony between nature and development of the state, not just in economy, but also in sports. We are sure that the voters will make an informed choice in the upcoming elections.”
There is a lot to look forward in Sikkim in the upcoming elections and we wish Bhaichung Bhutia the best in his efforts to change his state.