Eleven elected uncontested to Sikkim civic bodies
Eleven candidates were elected uncontested, leaving 140 others to fight the elections to the seven urban local bodies in Sikkim, the polling for which will take place on March 31.
The most prominent among those elected uncontested is Ganesh Rai, a senior leader of the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, from Upper Singithang in the seven-ward Namchi Municipal Council in South Sikkim.
Rai had contested the last Assembly elections from Namchi on an SKM ticket and given a tough fight to former chief minister and Sikkim Democratic Front president Pawan Chamling, narrowly losing by a mere 377 votes.
Unlike in the past, the civic body elections are being held on a non-partisan basis this time. However, most of the candidates like Rai are associated with one party or the other. “I may be the president of Nari Shakti (the SKM’s women’s wing), but I am not contesting as my party’s candidate. I am contesting in my individual capacity,’ said Kala Rai, a candidate from Lower Sichey in Gangtok
Apart from Namchi, elections are being held for the 19-ward Gangtok Municipal Corporation and the five nagar panchayats of Singtam, Rangpo, Nayabazar-Jorethang, Gyalshing and Mangan all of which have five wards each.
Gangtok has the maximum number of candidates in the fray with 64, which is minus the four who were elected uncontested. Mangan nagar panchayat in North Sikkim has the lowest number of candidates with 10, not counting the one who won unopposed.
A political observer said of the 11 elected uncontested in different civic bodies, most owed their allegiance to the SKM. This, he added, indicates which way the political wind is blowing. “The election of the civic body chiefs after the polls will make this even more clearer. The claimants to the post of GMC mayor and chairman of Namchi Municipal Council are Kala Rai and Ganesh Rai, respectively, and their election, if it happens, will establish the swing in favour of the SKM,” he said.