Lamp & Lotus Come Together for Sikkim Polls

SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling speaking to media on Tuesday.
Wed, Mar 13, 2019

SKM-BJP alliance to contest elections jointly
Seat sharing, CMP signing within couple of days

BIJOY GURUNG
GANGTOK:
The upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Sikkim would see the combined team of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) and BJP taking on ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party. The nod to go ahead with the electoral alliance with the BJP was given during the central executive committee meeting of SKM party on Monday.
SKM spokespersons Jacob Khaling, Bikash Basnet and Sonam Bhutia on Tuesday shared the details about the alliance with BJP as endorsed by the SKM meeting held at Singling residence of party president P.S. Golay.
Golay along with six other senior SKM leaders had met BJP national president Amit Shah and general secretary Ram Madhav last week at New Delhi. Preliminary talks for the alliance had taken place there, and the SKM insists that it was the BJP who was keen on having SKM as a partner.
“The final conclusion of the meeting yesterday at Singling was that there is no objection from the party members for having an electoral alliance with the BJP. The meeting directed the party to go ahead with the alliance. This decision was communicated to the BJP leadership and they will get back to us within today or tomorrow,” said Khaling.
Signing the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) by both the parties is the next crucial step to finalise the alliance. (See box). After this, seat sharing and other election-related matters like campaigning would be addressed.
“Seat sharing will happen but how many seats (to each party), it has not been finalised. We will fulfil our responsibility in the alliance. We are declaring the candidates within this week,” said the SKM spokesperson.
To a question, Khaling maintained the alliance with BJP was not related with funds.
“The SKM is in a position that we can win the elections even if we contest without any alliance. However, we would require crucial support of the Centre after the elections for the pending political demands of Sikkim. The economy of Sikkim is also in a mess under the SDF government and the new government will need financial support from the Centre. It is not a matter of only winning the elections for us. More important is to run the government which can fulfil the aspirations of the people and for this, support of Centre is crucial,” said Khaling.
The SKM spokespersons maintained that the alliance with BJP is in the larger interests of Sikkim and people of Sikkim.
“We are going for an alliance with the BJP with a Common Minimum Programme duly signed by both the parties. We can say with pride that we are doing the alliance for the people of Sikkim; we are doing this to protect Sikkim from being overrun with Bangladeshi influx due to the Citizenship Amendment Bill. This can only be done by convincing the BJP to exempt Sikkim from that bill when it is placed in the Rajya Sabha,” said SKM spokesperson Bikash Basnet.
SKM spokesperson Sonam Bhutia said the alliance was a vote of confidence from the national party on SKM to form the government this time in Sikkim.
“The nation’s largest party has confidence on us. Why? The BJP has already done a survey and taken inputs from various sources that the SDF is a losing horse this election. The BJP national leadership has the report that this time people in Sikkim have faith in SKM and that is why they are interested in the alliance. It is a big stamp that the BJP has given that change is inevitable in Sikkim this time,” said Bhutia.
Khaling pointed out that the ruling SDF was also in the alliance of Congress-led UPA for two terms and now in BJP led-NDA for one term.
“The SDF party was with the UPA for two terms and is with the NDA now but where is the Common Minimum Programme of the SDF party? Where is the Common Minimum Programme of the SDF party while joining the NEDA also? The alliance with UPA and NDA was not done in the interests of the Sikkim but with a single agenda of protecting one person from CBI probe into the corruption allegations,” said the SKM spokesperson.

COMMON MINIMUM PROGRAMME
The electoral alliance between SKM and BJP awaits the signing of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) to be done within a couple of days. SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling shared details of the CMP which include conditions of the party for the alliance. Here is what he shared in a press meet on Tuesday

1. The first condition is that the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 (passed in Lok Sabha, but got lapsed as it was not passed in Rajya Sabha in the final sitting) will not be implemented in Sikkim. When the bill is tabled in Rajya Sabha, it will be with an amendment stating that Sikkim is exempted from the Act.
2. Reservation of Limboo-Tamang Assembly seats once the government is formed. The BJP leaders have told us that everything is ready for the reservation and would be done within one year forming the next government.
3. Inclusion of the 11 left-out communities of Sikkim in the Central ST list.
4. Restoration of lost Nepali seats in the Assembly.
5. Full protection of Article 371F, Rule 4(4), old laws and special Constitutional provisions of Sikkim.
6. Freedom and respect to all communities and religions in Sikkim especially the minority communities. The SKM party and president P.S. Golay guarantee to the people that no injustice would happen to the minorities of Sikkim due to our alliance with BJP.
7. IT exemption to all Sikkimese including the old settlers.
8. CBI probe on politicians in Sikkim accused of indulging in corruption.


Area: 7096 Sq Km
Capital:Gangtok
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Climate:
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi