SKM-BJP alliance for Sikkim by-polls

SKM-BJP alliance for Sikkim by-polls
Sun, Sep 29, 2019

BJP gets Gangtok & Martam-Rumtek, SKM to contest from Poklok-Kamrang


GANGTOK: Martam-Rumtek and Gangtok constituencies, reserved as BL (Bhutia-Lepcha) seats, will have BJP candidates supported by the ruling SKM party. Question on whether Chief Minister and SKM president P.S. Golay is contesting from Poklok-Kamrang will receive an answer on Sunday, a day before the final date for filing of nominations.
“The parliamentary board of the party will make a decision and make it public tomorrow,” said SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling in a press conference at Gangtok where leaders of both SKM and BJP announced the electoral alliance.
As per the alliance, SKM would be supporting the BJP candidates in Gangtok and Martam-Rumtek while BJP will not field its candidate at Poklok-Kamrang in south district.
Monday (September 30) is the last date for filing of nomination for the by-polls in these three constituencies.
State BJP president D.B. Chauhan informed that the party is declaring its candidates for the two constituencies tomorrow after endorsement by the parliamentary board of BJP at Delhi.
‘A Continuation’, says both SKM & BJP
Both SKM and BJP functionaries detailed on why the alliance at State-level elections was rationale and is a continuation of the tie-up at national level through NDA and regional level through NEDA.
Khaling said: “When BJP formed the government at the Centre with absolute majority, it invited our MP Indra Hang Subba for the first NDA meeting with the newly elected MPs at Delhi. Similarly, our party president and Chief Minister P.S. Golay was invited for the NEDA conclave in Guwahati chaired by Union Home minister Amit Shah.”
The SKM spokesperson maintained that there was no doublespeak from the SKM regarding the just-announced electoral alliance. “In the Assembly elections of 2014 and 2019, the SKM never opposed the BJP. The SKM did not form the government by opposing the BJP. By joining hands with the BJP now does not reflect any betrayal from our side.”
The State BJP president added that BJP is in alliance with regional parties in other States also including the Northeastern region. The BJP is fully aware on how to work in the alliance while respecting the regional parties and to protect their existence, he said. The alliance here is in full interests of the people of Sikkim and we will work together while totally respecting the local sentiments, he said.
Alliance Foundations as per SKM
Khaling shared the foundations, as per the SKM, which were crucial enough to have an electoral tie-up with BJP even though the ruling front is running a stable government.
“There are long pending demands including political demands of Sikkim before the Centre which we have taken as the foundations of this alliance. The Limboo-Tamang Assembly seat reservation needs to be addressed expeditiously. The demands of tribal status for the 11 left-out communities of Sikkim and income tax exemption for the old settlers are also pending. To fulfil all these demands, we need to develop a good relationship with the Centre,” he said.
“There are many issues of Sikkim that requires the support of the Centre and also to protect the Constitutional provisions for Sikkim. This alliance is not for short-term interests but done in the longer interests of Sikkim,” said SKM leader M.P. Subba.
Khaling accused the previous State government for doing double-standard politics like ‘praising the Centre at Delhi and oppose the Centre at Sikkim’ that resulted in the pending demands.
“We are in the government by promising to fulfill these pending demands. It is not only in our hands to fulfill these demands. So we thought, for the people of Sikkim, to have a relationship with the BJP and get the demands fulfilled in five years. It is a new experiment as we have seen all other attempts not succeeding. We are confident of positive results in coming days,” said Khaling.
Double-Engine for Sikkim, says BJP
On his part, State BJP in-charge Nitin Nabin described the BJP-SKM alliance as a double engine for the development of Sikkim.
“This is the beginning of a new era in Sikkim. First time, the party ruling in Delhi and the party running the government in Sikkim have come together for the State and nation. This is a double engine and in the interests of Sikkim,” said Nabin.
Regarding the ‘foundations of alliance’ shared by the SKM, Nabin pointed out that the BJP has given commitment on these issues and are with the SKM. When you have both the State and Centre working together, we can resolve these issues at the earliest, he said.
Nabin maintained that nobody can touch Article 371F as long as BJP is there.
We want a transparent and development-oriented government which is free from corruption, he said adding that the BJP will work with the SKM on these three points.
State BJP president D.B. Chauhan said it is not possible for a single regional party to clear the pending demands before the Centre. The demands would be taken up jointly by the BJP and SKM to provide justice to the people of Sikkim, he said.
The press meet also saw SKM spokesperson Sonam Venchungpa formally joining the BJP in presence of the SKM functionaries. Venchungpa had contested as a SKM candidate from Martam-Rumtek constituency earlier this year in the Assembly election.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
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