Gangtok, 26 Sept:
Sikkim Krantikari Morcha president, Chief Minister PS Tamang [Golay], has requested the Election Commission to decide on his request seeking reduction of his disqualification period by 30 September, informs a news-report published in the Indian Express today.
Should the EC decide in his favour by the date sought by Mr Tamang, he will be able to contest the byelections called for 21 October, the last date to file nominations for which is 30 Sept.
The Indian Express report informs that Mr Tamang, who is currently in New Delhi, met the Chief Election Commissioners Sunil Arora and Sushil Chandra with his request on Wednesday.
Mr Tamang, it may be recalled, following his conviction and subsequent jail term, is disqualified from contesting elections for six years. He was, however, appointed Chief Minister of Sikkim on 27 May and is required to contest and win elections within six months [counting from the day he was sworn in] to continue in office.
Only the Election Commission has the jurisdiction to reduce the period of his disqualification and Mr Tamang had approached it some months back with such a request.
The last time that the EC exercised its powers to remove or reduce disqualification of a convicted person was 42 years back in 1977 when it had reduced the period of disqualification of two Uttar Pradesh MLAs - Shyam Narain Tiwari and Mitra Sen Yadav. They were convicted of criminal offences. Mr Tamang has been convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Interestingly, the IE report also quotes unnamed EC officials as saying that during Wednesday’s meeting, Mr Tamang made the case that he was framed by the previous governmen. Tamang is learned to have also said that if he cannot retain his chief ministership, horse-trading will ensue.
Currently, SKM has 18 MLAs, BJP 10 and SDF one MLA in the 32-member Sikkim Legislative Assembly with three more constituencies going up for grabs in the ensuring byelections.