No Seats, No Election: LTVC

Gangtok, 17 Feb:

Limboo Tamang Voluntary Committee [LTVC] has contended that the entire election process will be unconstitutional if the Limboos and Tamangs were not given their due Constitutional right to reserved seats since they are now included in the Scheduled Tribes list.

The committee has stressed its stand of ‘no seats, no election’. Towards this end, the LTVC approached the Supreme Court on 13 Feb with a petition seeking a stay order on assembly elections in Sikkim until the seat reservation issue of the two communities was resolved.

An LTVC press release points out that Limboos and Tamangs got tribal status in 2003, and on that moment itself became entitled to seat reservation [by virtue of being STs] in the Legislative Assembly. This constitutional right has however remained pending for the past 17 years due to what the organization sees as the failure of the State government.

The organization sees the Sikkim government’s seat reservation formula based on the Burman Commission Report as “defective” and rejects the alternative interim formula increasing the Assembly strength to 40 seats as only creating a hurdle for LT seats.

Having already gone through three assembly elections without their reserved seats, LTVC rues that the situation is likely to remain unchanged even in 2019.

The organisation has further alleged that the SDF, CM and SILTAC were misguiding the people and falsely claiming that the LT seat reservation file was lying with the PMO. As per a recent letter and RTI replies received on 17 January this year from MHA, the matter was still under consideration in MHA, LTVC has claimed.

“CM is answerable now for delay in LT seats as we saw many promises and speeches made in between by the CM, Ministers, MLAs, SILTAC and SDF party stating LT seat reservation will be given before 2019 election,” the release states.

It is added that CM even went to the extent by giving word publicly that he will take retirement and end his political career if he fails to keep his promise of securing LT seats before 2019 elections.

LTVC has also called upon the two communities to distinguish between the value and significance of SDF promising to field five candidates from the community and five seats reserved by the Constitution.