BJP forges alliance with SKM for Sikkim polls

March 9, 2019

 

Gangtok, Mar 8 (PTI): The BJP Friday forged an alliance with opposition Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) to contest the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state.

The details of seat sharing between the two parties would be announced soon, BJP's Sikkim in-charge Nitin Nabin said.

SKM president PS Tamang [Golay] and BJP's North-East in-charge Ram Madhav finalised the alliance in New Delhi, he said.

"The two parties have decided to form an alliance for the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in Sikkim," Nabin, who was present during the meeting between Tamang and Madhav, said over phone from New Delhi.

In an identical post on Facebook and Twitter, Madhav announced that the two parties joined hands for the polls and described the SKM as the "main opposition party" in Sikkim.

Elections will be held simultaneously for the 32-member Assembly and the lone Lok Sabha seat in Sikkim later this year.

In the 2014 Assembly election, the SKM had won 10 seats but now it has only two MLAs in the House.

Seven of the MLAs had defected to the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) in 2015, while Tamang was disqualified from the membership of the Assembly in 2016, following his conviction for a year in a corruption case.

The ruling SDF did not want to comment on the SKM-BJP alliance.

"We have nothing to say on this issue as of now," SDF spokesperson KT Gyaltsen said.

On the SDF's status in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Gyaltsen said his party continues to be a part of the coalition at the national level.

The BJP's Sikkim in-charge, however, denied this.

"No...the SDF is not part of the NDA," Nabin said.

The SDF, led by the country's longest serving Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, has 29 MLAs in the Assembly.

More clarity is however awaited on the alliance with sources in the  SKM stating that the party has set some pre-conditions for the tie-up and that the process has only begun for the possible alliance. No official word from SKM had arrived on the BJP announcement till the time of going to print.

[with additional inputs from SummitTimes reporters]

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