Gurkhas To Contest 2017 Himachal Elections, Announce Candidate From Dharamshala

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Dharamshala: Gurkhas of Himachal have decided to fight the coming assembly election at their own, if not given a ticket by major political parties. The community is convinced that none of the political parties shall give them even a chance.

Mr. Preetam Burathoki  General Secretary of the Punjab & Himachal  Gurkhas Association said, “a meeting of the associations headquarter was held here and it was decided to raise the community’s voice from inside the Vidhan Sabha this time. The gathering unanimously selected Mr R S Rana as its candidate from Dharamshala assembly constituency to fight against BJP and Congress party candidates in the coming assembly elections later this year.”

Dharamshala has around 50,000 voters, more than 8000 of these are Gurkhas.

Burathoki said that Gurkha is a loyal community and brought lots of laurels to the  area, state and the country, but is being cheated at every corner when development and upliftment of the community was considered.

Burathoki let Hill Post know, “Gurkhas is a well entrenched community in Himachal and have asked both Congress and BJP for a ticket many times, but none of them have agreed to it in 50 years of existence of Himachal Pradesh after the area where our community is residing merged with it from Punjab in 1966.”

Gurkha’s, a fierce fighting race

Gurkhas have a history going back to more than 200 years of residing in Kangra and other  parts of Himachal Pradesh. Many of the Gurkhas settled in the state are also from a later date when the British recruited them as a fierce fighting marshal race into the Royal army that served the imperial power. Their families were made to settle in different hilly areas of India, including Himachal (earlier part of Punjab). After Independence in 1947, these Gurkhas of Nepali descent were later adopted as  the pride of Indian Army.

RS Rana, president Gurkha Association of HP, Punjab said, “There are around 60 thousand Gurkhas in Himachal who are mainly settled in Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Chamba, Sirmour and Solan districts. This is a big enough number to send at least one of their representatives to the 68 member Himachal assembly”

Rana said that Gurkhas have brought lots of laurel to the state. Among them were martyrs Dal Bahadur and Durga Mul, composer of the National Anthem Master Mitter Sen, Param Vir Chakra winner Col Dhan Singh Thapa, Mahavir Chakra winner Brig Sher Jung Thapa, Shourya Chakra winner Maj Abhijit Thapa and many more, said Rana. The community does deserve a seat in the state assembly, he added.

Rana lamented, “The community was not even given a councillor seat in the newly created Dharamshala Municipal Corporation even though maximum number of Gurkhas reside in the area, whereas one person from the exiled Tibetans community is an nominated member of the municipality but the Gorkhas have been ignored.

He said that the absence of leaders of both the political parties in the funeral of martyr Maj Shikhar Thapa, recently, have confirmed that the community is being cheated by them all.

Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 12 years of experience behind him. He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI new agency. In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism awar. He has intensively covered the Tibetan Government in Exile and regularly reports on varied issues which include sports, tourism and others. Arvind Sharma lives in Dharamshala in Himachal.

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