70% voting in Sikkim local body elections
Over 70 per cent of the 82,000-odd eligible voters exercised their franchise in the election to seven urban local bodies in Sikkim on Wednesday.
According to the data culled from different districts, the highest turnout was recorded at Mangan in North Sikkim with close to 80 per cent voting and the lowest at Gangtok in East Sikkim with less than 60 per cent.
Apart from Gangtok Municipal Corporation (GMC) and Mangan Nagar Panchayat, elections were also held to the municipal council of Namchi in South Sikkim, nagar panchayats of Nayabazar-Jorethang, Gyalshing, Singtam and Rongpo.
Unlike in the last party-based civic body elections held in October 2015, the polls this time was held on a none-partisan basis, meaning candidates contested in their individual capacities and not under the banner of any political party.
However, most candidates are active members of various political parties and, according to observers, the results of the civic polls would provide a pointer to which way the political wind is blowing in the Himalayan state which had witnessed a change of regime in 2019 after a gap of 25 years.
“Party-less election it was, but since most of the candidates were very active and some even senior members of different parties, the results will have a bearing on the overall political ecosystem of the state. The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, which ended the 25-year-old regime of the Sikkim Democratic Front under Pawan Chamling, appears more keen to prove it enjoys an upper hand over SDF through the polls,” said an observer.
The SKM had come to power in the state despite losing the popular votes to the SDF in the Assembly elections held in April 2019. It had edged out the SDF by 17 to 15 seats in the 32-member House.