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SDF wins Sikkim Assembly fifth time

Gangtok, May 16: The Sikkim Democratic Front is all set to form the government for the fifth consecutive term by winning 22 of the 32 Assembly seats in the state.

The Opposition, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, has got the remaining 10 seats.

Result of the lone Lok Sabha seat in the state is yet to be declared. The SDF was leading by 40,000 votes, according to latest reports.

The SDF leadership has claimed that today’s results “proved” that chief Minister Pawan Chamling continued to be the most popular political leader in the state. If Chamling completes his new term in office, he will become the longest serving chief minister in the country.

But unlike in 2009, when the SDF had won all the 32 Assembly seats in the state, this time, the Assembly will have an Opposition.

P.S. Golay, who was with the SDF earlier, had accused the Chamling government of nepotism and favouritism last year.

He had formed the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha in February last year.

Golay, 44, had launched his election campaign for the Assembly polls with the “parivartan” slogan.

He is a four-time MLA who had served as a minister in the Chamling government.

“Now, at least there will be an Opposition in the state Assembly,” Golay said today.

Chamling won from both the seats he contested — Namchi-Singithang by 1,084 votes and Yangang Rangang by 3,142 votes — in South Sikkim.

Golay also contested from two seats.

While he won from Burtuk constituency in East Sikkim, he lost in Namthang-Rateypani in South district.

Sikkim voted on April 12 for the 32 Assembly seats and the only Lok Sabha seat.

Today, Chamling congratulated all the winners.“I would like to thank the people of Sikkim for giving us an opportunity to serve them for the fifth term. I would also like to congratulate all the winning candidates,” he told The Telegraph.

SDF spokesperson Bhim Dahal said: “For the past 20 years, our party has dedicated itself to the people of Sikkim and this victory is a nod from the people for us to continue with our relentless service.”

Today, Golay congratulated Chamling and the successful nominees through a press release.

“The participation of the people in this election was overwhelming, I appeal to all the parties to maintain peace,” it read.

A retired bureaucrat in Gangtok said a change in the guard would have been “refreshing” but emphasised that it was “good” that at least there would be an Opposition in the Assembly this time.

“Without any Opposition, all bills would get passed in the state Assembly without any discussions. At least now the Opposition would get an opportunity to raise objections,” he said.

A leader of the Sikkim Sangram Parishad, which did not take part in the elections this year after deciding to support Golay’s SKM, said at least a “start” had been made by the SKM.

“We had hoped that Golay and his SKM would be able to defeat the SDF. But that did not happen. Anyway, from zero to 10 seats is at least something. It is better than having no opposition,” he said.

A leader of the SKM admitted that while the party supporters were a “bit disappointed” at not being able to defeat the SDF, they were happy that at least the party had been able to “open its account” in the Assembly elections.