Gangtok, March 31: The Trinamul Congress today started presenting pens, which the party said was “the symbol of knowledge and wisdom” to voters as part of the election campaign so that “a new political history is written in Sikkim”.
An Election Commission official told The Telegraph in Calcutta that rules allowed the distribution of any item other than clothes to voters.
“The political parties can distribute any item, except clothes, to voters. But the expenses should be accounted by the parties,” said the official.
The pens have an appeal “vote for Trinamul” and the party symbol (grass and flower) emblazoned on them.
“There are many political parties which are distributing different items such as umbrellas, T-shirts and caps free among the electorate in Sikkim. But we have decided to give ball pens to the people because it is the symbol of knowledge and wisdom and never before has any political party thought of giving pens to the people of the state. It is an innovative idea put forward by members of Trinamul in the state so that a new political history is written in Sikkim,” said Tshering Lepcha, the general secretary of the Sikkim unit of Trinamul.
Today, Trinamul handed over nearly 300 pens to the people and the distribution will continue in the days to come. The SDF has distributed T-shirts with chief minister Pawan Chamling’s pictures printed on them and caps among the electorate.
The umbrella, the symbol of the SDF, is also presented by the party to the people.
The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha also gives to voters T-shirts which carry the pictures of its leader P.S. Golay.
The 33-year-old Lepcha is also contesting as a Trinamul candidate from Gangtok Assembly constituency in East Sikkim.
Apart from Gangtok, Trinamool has fielded candidates in six other Assembly seats ---- West Pendam, Rhenock (East district) Geyzing-Bermoik, Rinchenpong (West Sikkim), Namthang Ratey Pani and Tumin Lingee (South district). The party’s candidate for the lone Lok Sabha seat in the state is Nakul Das Rai, who was the SDF’s MP from 2004 to 2009.
Lepcha has said if the Trinamul candidate is sent to Lok Sabha, he will raise the issues concerning the state in Parliament along with those MPs form the party in Bengal.
“There are many parties which call for a change of government in Sikkim. But the most important thing one should understand is that there are many political issues, which need to be taken up in Parliament. We have seen that the lone MP from Sikkim has never raised any issue in Lok Sabha. If people vote for the Trinamul candidate, he will raise the issues affecting Sikkim in Lok Sabha and will be supported by the party MPs from Bengal,” Lepcha told a public meeting here today.
The Trinamul leader said the state capital was afflicted with unemployment and drainage and traffic problems. “The politics in Sikkim need young leaders who can realise visions in a proper way. Trinamul believes in empowerment of the youth and women,” he added.