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Sikkim Opposition pact with eye on 2014

Gangtok, Dec. 17: Opposition parties in Sikkim today formed an alliance called the Democratic Alliance of Sikkim (DAS) in Gangtok to counter chief minister Pawan Chamling’s 19-year rule, keeping in mind the Assembly elections of 2014.

“The alliance is the need of the hour to stand united and restore democracy in Sikkim. The people of Sikkim have always wanted an Opposition to oppose the dictatorial government of Pawan Chamling,” said the convenor of DAS, Nakul Das Rai, a former Lok Sabha MP who is an SDF dissident.

The political parties in the alliance are the Congress, BJP, Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad Party , Sikkim Liberation Front, CPM and the Sikkim Gorkha Prajantrantrik Party.

The SDF has been in power since 1993 and Chamling has been the chief minister since then. The party has all 32 seats in the Sikkim Assembly.

The Opposition parties today said it was undemocratic for a single party to be in power for so many years.

The non-political parties supporting the alliance are the All Sikkim Educated Unemployed and Self Employed Association and the Concerned Society of Sikkim, which is headed by Nakul Das Rai.

Nar Bahadur Bhandari, the former Sikkim chief minister from the Congress, today said he, too, was in power for 15 years because of the lack of a strong Opposition.

SDF spokesperson P.D. Rai said from Delhi that Opposition parties have full democratic rights to form an alliance. An alliance of Opposition parties was formed in 2009 but it fizzled out after a few months.