Dharamshala: The Gurkhas, a well entrenched community in Himachal, have asked Congress and BJP, the major political parties of the state, to give the community at least from one assembly ticket for the upcoming elections to be held before end of the year.
It was the Gurkha rule that the British forces overran in the early 19th century before establishing a pearl of cantonment townships in the hills state. 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 settled in the 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 to Hill Post, “ 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 representative to the 68 member Himachal assembly. But since 1966, when HP came into existence, none from among our community has been given a chance, either by congress or BJP though the community has supported candidates from both parties in one or the other election.”
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.
Speaking about the 2017 elections to be held by December Rana said, “the Gorkha community will support the party which gives a ticket to its leader.”
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 Gurkhas have been ignored.