Accusing the Left Front government in West Bengal of ignoring Darjeeling Hills, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jaswant Singh on Friday demanded the creation of a separate Gorkhaland.
Singh also demanded more funds under the Cyclone Aila package. Initiating a debate on the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha, the Darjeeling Member of Parliament wondered, "What wrong have the Gorkhas done not to deserve a separate state."
Welcoming the tripartite talks on the issue, he said the demand for Gorkhaland has been one of the oldest demands of the region. He said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had also served as a defence minister and should understand the special importance of Darjeeling district, which shares international boundaries with Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and China.
Singh said it would be 'grave injustice' to national security and the people there if the Darjeeling Hills are not given the importance of a hill state.
He said while he was not against the development of border roads in Sikkim, Darjeeling should also be provided with similar infrastructure. Singh, a former commissioned officer of the Indian Army, said the officer cadre should not be left out under the one-rank, one-pension announced by the government.
He said officers were the first ones to get killed in operations as they led their men in battle. "They also leave behind widows," he added.