Gangtok, Jan 28 (PTI) Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling has said the preceding governments in the state have failed to protect the rights of Sikkimese people. Also Read - Earthquake Measuring 4.0 on Richter Scale Jolts India-Nepal Border, Tremors Felt in Sikkim

The government, led by Chief Minister LD Kazi, got a chance to include all communities of Sikkim in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list in 1978, when the Union Government had granted the option, but it did not exercise discretion in the matter, he said yesterday at an event at Samman Bhawan. Also Read - BREAKING: Earthquake of Magnitude 4.8 Jolts Yuksom in Sikkim

“Given the fact that Sikkim had just joined the Indian Union, I am of the belief that the then state government could have placed various demands for the benefit of the people. In all likelihood, the Centre would have considered them… Alas it did not happen,” he rued. Also Read - Mamata Banerjee Slams Modi Government's Budget 2021, Calls It Anti-Farmer, Anti-People and Anti-Country

Citing another instance of “missed opportunity”, the CM said that the Union government had in 1987 considered the demand for granting ST status to the Limboo and Tamang communities, but the government, led by Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari, cited various reasons to “foil the plan”.

He said it was due to his relentless efforts that the demand was finally accepted by the Centre in 2002 and that the people of the two communities should consider themselves fortunate for the opportunity.

The CM also said that he has been working hard to get reservation for the Limboo and Tamang communities in the legislative assembly.

“Since the matter falls within the Union List, the ball is now in the court of the Central Government. I have been made to understand that five seats will be reserved and five new constituencies will be created based on the 2011 census, but the matter has to be approved by the Cabinet and then the Parliament ” he said.

Chamling, however, reminded people that reservation of any kind ensures many benefits, but one should not take it as a cushion to lead a life with laid-back attitude.

“Our people, especially the youth, should always keep in mind that only a competitive spirit and hard work will lead to success in life,” he cautioned.

The CM also harped on inclusive development agendas of his government and said that he has been working for the welfare of the people of Sikkim without any prejudice.

“Our government is humanist, not casteist. We do not indulge in vote-bank politics. It is unfortunate that innocent people, especially the youngsters, are misguided by elements who want to divide our society by politicizing sensitive issues of caste, creed, religion etc,” he said.

Every citizen should have true knowledge about their democratic rights to be able to lead a life of dignity and respect, he added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.