Monday, 30th October 2017

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BJP Sikkim magic: 0 yesterday, 10 today

BJP paraded the 10 MLAs of the SDF before the media at the party headquarters in New Delhi

By J.P. Yadav and Rajeev Ravidas in Gangtok and New Delhi
  • Published 14.08.19, 2:28 AM
  • Updated 14.08.19, 2:28 AM
  • a min read
  •  
10 Sikkim Democratic Front MLAs join the BJP in presence of the party's national general secretary Ram Madhav in New Delhi on August 13, 2019. (PTI)

The BJP has emerged as the principal Opposition in Sikkim — without winning a single seat in the Assembly elections and unable to bag more than 1.62 per cent of the votes cast.

The overnight change of fortunes was brought about by the switchover of 10 of the 13 MLAs of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) to the BJP.

In the Assembly elections held in April this year, the then ruling SDF was defeated by the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), headed by P.S. Tamang, who is known as Golay. The SKM won 17 of the 32 seats in the Assembly.

On Tuesday, barring Pawan Chamling, the SDF supremo and the longest serving chief minister of the hill state, and two other MLAs, all other elected members of the party joined the BJP.

Chamling was one of the founding members of the BJP’s effort to form an anti-Congress alliance in the Northeast in 2016. But Chamling had turned down the BJP’s offer to form an alliance for the Assembly polls.

On Tuesday, the BJP paraded the 10 MLAs of the SDF before the media at the party headquarters in New Delhi. Some suggested a reunion of old allies.

BJP general secretary and Northeast minder Ram Madhav said the anti-defection law would not apply since more than two-thirds of the MLAs had broken away.