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Surprise in Sikkim House

- Rebel SDF leader Golay in Assembly for the first time after 2009

Gangtok, June 25: P.S. Golay, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) MLA who had not attended the House since 2009, appeared in the Assembly today, the first day of the budget session.

The 42-year-old leader, who has often said he is unhappy with the SDF leadership, drove to the Assembly around 9.40am, more than an hour before the session was scheduled to start at 11am.

Dressed in a dark blue shirt, light brown cotton trousers and a red tika on his forehead, Golay took a seat in the second row of the House. He was the first member to enter today, but except exchanging greetings with MLAs Am Prasad Sharma and Chandra Maya Subba, Golay only read the documents placed on the table in front of him.

He was the only member who did not stand up when chief minister Pawang Chamling entered the House.

Before today, Golay was in the Assembly in the 2009 when he took oath as an MLA. He was nominated as the chairman of the state commerce and industries department that year, but he resigned from the post on March 22, 2011.

Although Golay has not resigned from the party, or has he been expelled, he has said at several public meetings that he is “not happy with the party leadership”.

Golay is one of the founding members of the SDF that was established in 1994 and has been an MLA for four terms (1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009).

He was a cabinet minister and had been elected from the Soreng constituency in West Sikkim three times before he was asked by the leadership to contest from Upper Burtuk in East Sikkim in 2009.

Although Golay won that year, he distanced himself from the party after that.

The House, which usually has few occupants, was packed today.

Around 50 supporters of Golay also gathered outside the Assembly gate while the leader attended the session. “We have come to extend our moral support,” one of them said. Some supporters even said that a party under Golay would be floated soon.

Golay did not speak in the House today, nor did he answer questions on his sudden appearance. “I will speak in the budget session tomorrow. Until then, please wait,” he told the reporters outside the House. He left the Assembly around 11.45am after governor Balmiki Prasad Singh’s address.