Daramdin, 31 May:
A little more than a month since the formation of Hamro Sikkim Party was announced in New Delhi on 26 April, the party was formally launched today at Daramdin, West District. Former Minister Ran Bahadur Subba, former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, founding members and a large number of people were gathered at Daradmin bazaar for the party's launch.
Bhaichung and RB Subba have been named as senior vice presidents of the party putting to rest any speculation on one of the two being probable candidates for the president's post. It was informed that the party will declare the name of its president soon and the choice will be as per people's wishes.
The vice presidents are Tirtha Sharma, Dr. Bina Basnett, DS Limboo, Anu Bhattarai, Tara Shrestha and Dilip Rai.
Launching a scathing attack on Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, Bhaichung said corruption is rampant in the state and there has been no development in Sikkim over the past four decades.
"History will remember Pawan Chamling as a communal and corrupt CM, Lifa barney [distributing cash] CM and Murti banauney [statue maker] CM," he stated.
"Chamling is a dictator and his party, Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), is a dictatorial party," he added.
Bhaichung said that the people of the state are scared to question the ruling party's development claims as well as the "prevalence of rampant corruption" due to fear of retribution.
"When I was playing international football for the country, I had sought land in Sikkim to set up an academy so that the football talents can be nurtured. The government did not give me land but the government readily gives land to corporates. The CM has sold all the land and rivers of Sikkim in the name of development which went only to a few who were close to him," said Bhaichung.
Questioning Chamling's claim that he has provided fruits of development to all corners of the state, the former India captain alleged that essential services like roads, water and electricity were not available to the people, particularly those living in rural areas.
"There are 30-32 hydel power projects operational in Sikkim even as the chief minister claims that the state sells electricity to foreign countries like Bangladesh.
Unfortunately, the Sikkimese people do not get uninterrupted power supply," the Hamro Sikkim Party leader said.
"When Hamro Sikkim Party comes to power we will ensure 24 hours continuous power supply, drinking water and good roads. The CM says that Sikkim is supplying power to Delhi and even wants to sell abroad but we say first ensure proper power supply within Sikkim," said Bhaichung.
Speaking on corruption allegations against the CM, Bhaichung said, "If he is clean then he should allow CBI to probe into the corruption allegations. Because of the CBI fear, the Chief Minister cannot strongly place Sikkim issues with the Centre and is always on the backfoot as he is tainted. He cannot deliver the demands of the Sikkim pending before the Centre like tribal status for the Nepali communities and Assembly seats for the Limboo and Tamang communities."
He further accused the SDF government of fragmenting Sikkimese society in the name of caste and religion.
"He talks of supporting Gorkhaland but never asked his MPs to place a bill in the Parliament. Now he has reached an agreement with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee not to support the Gorkhaland demand or Bimal Gurung," alleged the former footballer.
"We together with the youth will make a new Sikkim and prepare the future of Sikkim. We want to make leaders from every section of the society. Our party's constitution does not allow any member to become MLA or CM for more than two terms. This means that new generation will get opportunities to become MLA or CM," said Bhaichung.
"This party is not RB Subba or Bhaichung's party, it is the people's party. We had worked hard to make SDF win the elections in 1994 but in these 25 years, the SDF has forgotten its principles. The SDF is not in favour of the poor people of Sikkim. West Sikkim was where SDF was born and now time has come to uproot it from West Sikkim. We will start from ward-level," said RB Subba.
Earlier, RB Subba and Bhaichung Bhutia along with others unfurled the party flag following puja. They also released a newsletter Bhoomiputra which is the mouthpiece of the party.
The welcome address was made by Prem Karki which was followed by a short speech from Indra Hang Limboo, Tara Shrestha, Dr Bina Basnett, Anu Bhattarai and Tirtha Sharma who spoke about the ideals and programmes of Hamro Sikkim Party and why they became a part of Hamro Sikkim Party.