SDF has become healthier, those now with me are true friends: Chamling

SDF has become healthier, those now with me are true friends: Chamling
Thu, Oct 31, 2019

GANGTOK,: Former Chief Minister Pawan Chamling believes that the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) has become healthier and capable with the exit of the 12 party MLAs and several party executives in the past four months.
“There are many advantages of being in the opposition. People who are associated with me now are my true friends as I am presently an opposition leader. They are with me for the cause of Sikkim. We will further strengthen our party as our ideological opponents have already left the party. Our party has become healthier and capable. I will move ahead with these friends and add more new friends in the party,” said Chamling.
The SDF president was speaking with SIKKIM EXPRESS on October 24, the day when the bye-poll results were announced.
Though the SDF candidates were trounced in the bye-elections by the SKM-BJP alliance, Chamling maintains that the SDF will remain relevant for the 2024 elections.
“Many new people are coming to our party as they have realized that the SDF is the only democratic and inclusive party. More than me, it is the people who need SDF. Pawan Chamling is needed for Sikkim. I am still relevant,” he said.
To a question on how SDF, now in the opposition, would reach out to the people, the SDF president said: “In today’s time, it is easy to connect with people in this digital age. I will go to the people. We have lost the elections but I am not lost in the minds of the people. Where I go, people display their love for me and send messages to me constantly. They tell me not to lose hope and not to leave politics as elections would again come in 2024. I am still there in the minds of the people.”
Regarding the defection of the 12 SDF MLAs to the BJP and SKM, Chamling shared that he had told them to wait till the bye-elections before taking any such decision. “The 12 MLAs left our party so early. This proves that they were in the SDF for their personal interest only and was with me to become ministers or be in the government. When we became an opposition party, they could not become ministers and hence, left the party. I had told them to wait till the bye-elections but they did not listen to me. Some started talking of joining the BJP and some talked about going to the ruling SKM.”
“I told them that people has given us the responsibility to serve them as an opposition and we must work in the place they have put us. However, they did not listen to me as they were not with me on ideologies or in the interest of Sikkim. I could not stop them as I could not fulfill their personal interest and hence, they left SDF,” said the SDF president.
“One of MLA who joined the SKM has said that I had directed the party MLAs to join the BJP. I was surprised to hear it… I had never said so, they were insisting on joining the BJP,” Chamling added.
Chamling, to a question, said the SKM government could not take a stand as a regional party and did an alliance with the BJP. He pointed out that the SDF party, while running the Sikkim government for 25 years, never compromised with any national party.
“We ran a government of a regional party for 25 years. There was a rule of Sikkimese in Sikkim for 25 years and our people enjoyed whatever powers that comes under State list. The Centre or the Governor never dictated things to me because we had a regional government and not an alliance with anyone.”
Chamling shared that the national parties running the government at the Centre used to threaten him but he never left his regional stand.
“Now we have a SKM government and in its four months, the present government could not take a regional stand and had to do an alliance. This show how weak they are ideologically, what will be the future of Sikkim under them? Now a government of alliance is happening, once it happens, what about the protection of the Sikkimese? When the agendas of the national parties get implemented here, what about our regional autonomous status and rights under Article 371F, the special identity of Sikkim and Sikkimese, what will happen to them?”
“Considering these things, I had campaigned in the general elections that a regional party should be there in Sikkim. We are a small society of 6 lakh and we have our own uniqueness protected under Article 371F. These don’t fall under the agenda of the national party and hence, there should be a regional party’s government for a small State like Sikkim who will work with the Centre. This has been the principle of SDF party,” said Chamling.
To another question, the former Chief Minister countered that the talks of CBI and Vigilance Police cases are being made as a political weapon against him.’
“Four months have passed of the SKM government, why they not put CBI on me? What they are waiting for? I am ready from the day my government fell.”
Asked if he is expecting it, Chamling said: “I have not given a thought on it. At this age, what is there to fear? I am ready to face anything.”
He pointed out that CBI investigations, if undertaken against the alleged corruption in the past SDF government, would drag others also including present Chief Minister P.S. Golay. It would not be on the past Chief Minister alone, he said.
“I ran the government for 25 years. There are ministers who worked with me for 25 years including the present Chief Minister who was in the council of ministers for 15 years. He was also in my team. If any corruption was done, there has to be involvement of the whole team. CBI will be on the ministers, MLAs and government officers who were with me for 25 years and not on me alone,” said Chamling.

Whether Komal Chamling will join politics
Pawan Chamling: I cannot take a decision on Komal Chamling as I have never encouraged anyone from my family into politics. Komal Chamling is qualified to take a decision on her own. I won’t force her to come and join politics because she is capable of taking a decision on her own. She is helping me presently as her duty and love for her father and not to come into politics. If she takes a decision then it is a different matter but she has not taken a decision so far.

 


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