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“Nomination instead of elections for Sangha seat will be detrimental and automatically delete Sangha seat from Sikkim Legislative Assembly and also dilute Article 371F”

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my strong condemnation of the recent statement made by Tshering Wangdi Lepcha, ex-Minister and Vice President of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), regarding the Sangha seat elections in Sikkim. It is distressing to hear that he has suggested there should be no elections for the Sangha seat and that any lama should be nominated instead.

Firstly, it is important to note that the SDF party has historically been against the Sangha seat and the monks of Sikkim. Back in 1999, the party boycotted the elections for the Sangha seat, which was a blatant insult to the entire monk community of Sikkim. Additionally, in 2004, some monks were violently beaten by SDF supporters after the party lost the Sangha seat. It is ironic that the same person, Acharya Tshering Lama, who complained about his monk supporters being attacked in 2004, is now supporting the nomination of Sangha members instead of democratic elections.

Nominating members for the Sangha seat would have several detrimental consequences. Firstly, the nominated person would not be an elected MLA, at most a chairman or advisor, which would prevent their entry into the Sikkim Legislative Assembly. Furthermore, by eliminating the election process for the Sangha seat, the seat itself would be deleted from the State Legislative Assembly, leading to a decrease in the number of seats representing the people. Currently, there are 13 BL seats in the assembly, but with the removal of the Sangha seat, this would decrease to 12.

Moreover, the proposal for a nominated member undermines the protection granted to the Sangha seat by Article 371F, which has been upheld by the Honourable Supreme Court of India as well. This move not only dilutes the significance of the Sangha seat but also weakens the constitutional safeguards provided to the people of Sikkim.

It is disheartening to see the SDF party, which claims to be the sole saviour of Sikkim, planning to abolish the Sangha seat and dilute Article 371F. This statement by Tshering Wangdi Lepcha serves as proof of the party's true intentions, exposing their disregard for the cultural and democratic values of Sikkim.

In light of these developments, it is crucial for the people of Sikkim to stand united and protect the integrity of their State. It is time to prioritize the preservation of Sikkim's rich heritage and the interests of its people over political motivations. It is incumbent upon us as responsible citizens to raise awareness and take action to safeguard the democratic values and constitutional provisions that have been entrusted to us.


Yours sincerely,

Phur Tshering Lepcha

West Sikkim


Sikkim at a Glance

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