SKM confirms pre-poll alliance with BJP subject to agreement on common minimum prog

Gangtok, 12 Mar:

Although the Bharatiya Janata Party high command had announced a pre-poll alliance with the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha a few days back, SKM itself had remained tight-lipped about the development and had not officially commented on it. With the announcement of the election schedule on Sunday and with less than a month left for the Assembly elections in the State, SKM today announced its pre-poll alliance with the BJP for Elections 2019.

This would not be the first election alliance between the SKM and BJP. It may be recalled that SKM had itself not fielded a candidate for the byepolls at Yangang-Rangang in 2014 and had supported the BJP candidate there.

SKM spokesperson, Jacob Khaling, today confirmed the alliance. Interestingly, he also added that the alliance would be finalised only after an agreement was reached on the eight-point common minimum programme proposed by the SKM.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Khaling informed that a high-level meeting chaired by the SKM party president PS Tamang [Golay] at Singling in West Sikkim on Monday took views and suggestions of leaders and workers of the party on the alliance with BJP.

He informed after thorough discussions, the meeting unanimously decided to go in for a pre-poll alliance with BJP for this election.

He mentioned that talks on the alliance were still going on and that after signing on the common minimum programme, the alliance will be finalised in the next few days. He added after that seat-sharing will also be discussed on the same meeting.

Mr Khaling mentioned that the eight-point common minimum programme includes amendment of the Citizen Amendment Bill to ensure that the Bill is not extended to Sikkim, immediate reservation of Limboo-Tamang seats and tribal status to eleven left-out communities, restoration of Nepali seats, protection of the Article 371F, Rule 4(4) and other old laws of Sikkim, full respect and protection to all religions and communities of Sikkim and their rights, permanent IT exemption to all Sikkimese and left out old settlers and CBI being allowed to investigate corruption cases in Sikkim.

Speaking on the alliance process, Mr Khaling informed that BJP leadership in Delhi invited SKM to discuss an alliance. The SKM delegation to Delhi was led by Mr Tamang. The party president informed and discussed this invitation in a high-level meeting of SKM on 26 February at Gangtok, it is informed.

He added that after the discussions, the meeting decided to go for a first-round meeting in Delhi and a seven-member high level delegation of SKM met BJP national president, Amit Shah, and other senior leaders on 06 March and had another meeting with BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on 07 March.

The SKM spokesperson also questioned the Sikkim Democratic Front party president on whether he had ever discussed with the party CEC before extending support to the BJP at the Centre.

He also questioned whether he or his party had placed a common minimum programme before the post poll alliance.

On the same, he alleged that the support extended by SDF to BJP at the Centre was not in the interest of the people but just to save an individual from the CBI investigation.

SKM however decided to have alliance with BJP for the people of Sikkim, he claimed.

Mr Khaling stated that the SDF has been misguiding minorities in the State by sowing fears about this alliance. On the same, he said, “SKM party gives full guarantee to Christians, Buddhists and Muslims in the State that there will not be any injustice and suppression. So they should not fear of anything.”

SKM spokesperson Sonam Bhutia in turn mentioned that following inner-party democracy, SKM was opting for the alliance only after holding extensive talks and interactions with leaders and workers of the party.

He added that BJP invited SKM for an alliance after seeing that SKM would form the next government in the State.

SKM general secretary, Bikash Basnet, mentioned that some anti-social elements have been circulating a fake list of SKM candidates for the upcoming election. He clarified that the SKM has not released any such list.