BJP Sikkim welcomes its 10 new MLAs

Gangtok, 26 Aug:

The BJP on Monday accorded a grand welcome to the 10 Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) MLAs who switched over to the party earlier this month in New Delhi.The MLAs along with some SDF Panchayat members were welcomed by the State BJP president, DB Chauhan in a function organized near the BJP office at Golitar, Singtam.Also present were executive members and other party members.

"We expect that these MLAs will work with dedication to make our party a strong outfit in Sikkim," state Mr Chauhan said at the reception at Singtam, about 25 kilometre from here.

The 10 legislators include former Minister D T Lepcha, once a trusted aide of the former Chief Minister and SDF president, Pawan Chamling.

MLA DT Lepcha, in his address, called on the people not to harbour any fears or doubts about BJP.

Addressing the worry triggered by the abrogation of Article 370 by the BJP Government at the centre, Mr Lepcha while claiming that Article 370 [for Kashmir] and Article 371F which extends special status to Sikkim cannot be compared.

He added that Central leaders have reassured them that Article 371F is safe and that anyone suggesting otherwise was peddling in rumours and fear-mongering.

Rangang Yangang MLA, Raj Kumari Thapa explained that being people's representatives, they took the decision to join the BJP keeping in mind the interests and developmental needs of the people and the State.

As for the ridicule and criticism which has been heaped on the defecting MLAs, Ms Thapa said that when it comes to the interest of the people, they were ready to absorb all the brickbats thrown their way.

Similarly, Upper Burtuk MLA, DR Thapa appealed to the people for support and claimed that the 10 Opposition MLAs, now that they belong to the party in power at the Centre, will have more power and influence and will be able to work more effectively in the interest of the people. Opposition MLAs have traditionally been sidelined in the State.

Later, Tumin Lingee MLA, Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia, while speaking to media persons, called on the people to deliver the State a strong and stable government.

"We took up politics to serve the people and have now joined the BJP to continue serving the people and work in their interest," he said.

The 10 legislators had met BJP working president, J P Nadda and joined the party on 13 Aug in the presence of its general secretary Ram Madhav, who is in charge of the party's affairs in the Northeast.