KOLKATA, Aug 15 (IANS): BJP member of parliament from West Bengal's Darjeeling S S Ahluwalia on Saturday raised concerns about a separate state for the Gorkhas even as the nation spoke of unity on India's 69th Independence Day.
"When will the Gorkha say I (the Gorkhas) belong to Gorkhaland"? the parliamentarian said at a programme in the hills of Darjeeling.
He cited the example of the Biharis hailing from Bihar, the Punjabis coming from the land of seven rivers and the Tamils belonging to Tamil Nadu - all residing in states based on their ethnicity.
The ethnic group of Gorkhas has long been demanding a separate state in north Bengal.
The BJP leadership in the state was quick to distance itself from Ahluwalia's statements and said the party wants unity in West Bengal.
"Maybe he (Ahluwalia) made an emotional speech," BJP MLA Shamik Bhattacharya said.
Prime minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, reiterated the need for unity in the country.
"If the unity of India is destroyed, then the dreams of its people are also destroyed," he said.