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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Foundation day of SDF in poll year: Chamling lashes out at CM over attack on Rai

Chamling tried to put the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) on the back foot by raising the recent attack on former Sikkim Assembly speaker K.N. Rai on March 1

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 05.03.24, 11:29 AM
SDF president and Sikkim’s former chief minister Pawan Chamling addresses the 32th foundation day of his party in Legship, West Sikkim, on Monday.

SDF president and Sikkim’s former chief minister Pawan Chamling addresses the 32th foundation day of his party in Legship, West Sikkim, on Monday. The Telegraph

The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) marked its 32nd foundation on Monday to launch its campaign for the upcoming Sikkim Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in full throttle.

The SDF was founded on March 4, 1993.

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Pawan Chamling, the president of the SDF and the former chief minister of Sikkim, addressed party supporters at Legship in Gyalshing district of Sikkim.

Chamling tried to put the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) on the back foot by raising the recent attack on former Sikkim Assembly speaker K.N. Rai on March 1. Chamling, in not so many words, alleged that the SKM had been behind the assault on Rai, who had to be flown to Delhi on March 2 for better treatment.

Six youths have been arrested for the assault that was widely condemned in the state.

"This (assault on Rai) is something unthinkable by a civilised, educated society.... I made this present chief minister (P.S. Tamang, president of the SKM) a three-time minister, he formed another party but we did not beat him up,” said Chamling.

Tamang, formerly in the SDF, rebelled against Chamling and formed his party in 2013.

Tamang’s party ousted the decades-long Chamling government in the 2019 Sikkim Assembly election.

In Sikkim, the Assembly election coincides with the Lok Sabha election and political temperatures have been rising in the Himalayan state in the double-poll-bound year.

"There is no law and order (in Sikkim)… This is a junglee sarkar. In the jungles, the strong ones dominate the weak but in a civilised society the stronger protects the weaker, which then goes on to ensure the safety of others,” said Chamling while speaking in the context of Rai’s attack.

“He (Rai) had gone to Melli to meet the family of J.B. Bhujel, a founder member of our party, when he was waylaid. This (attack) was preplanned,” said Chamling.

The SDF had from the onset blamed the SKM for the attack on Rai, who suffered, among other injuries, a fractured jaw. Sexagenarian Rai is also a patient of bone marrow cancer.

However, the SKM had also condemned the attack on Rai.

Soon after the attack, Tamang had said: “I strongly condemn the unpleasant and anti-social act of assault on former Speaker Shir KN Rai in Malli, Namchi district today. Shri KN Rai, a respected politician and senior citizen, should never have been subjected to such mistreatment.”

The SDF first assumed power in Sikkim on December 12, 1994. The party stayed in power till 2019.

Chamling, now 73, as well as the late Jyoti Basu of Bengal, have been two of the longest-serving chief ministers in India.

Besides being a politician, Chamling is also known as a proficient writer in Nepali.

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