Chamling demands President’s Rule in bypoll-bound Sikkim


Gangtok: Alleging that the law and order situation in bypoll-bound Sikkim has broken down, former chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling on Tuesday demanded that President’s Rule be imposed in the border state.

The law and order situation has “broken down” under the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) government headed by Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, Chamling told reporters here.

“There have been instances where the ruling party has unleashed political violence against its rivals, particularly in bypoll-bound Poklok-Kamrang Assembly constituency where the chief minister is a candidate,” Chamling, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) supremo, said.

The former chief minister said, under the circumstance in which people are fearful of further violence by goons of the ruling party in the run-up to the bypolls, President’s Rule be imposed in the state to restore people’s faith in democracy.

Chamling accused Tamang of instigating violence against the SDF workers to prevent them from campaigning for party candidate Moses Rai in the seat.

“Sikkim had never earlier witnessed political violence against leaders and workers of opposition parties,” he said.

Chamling, who ruled the state for 25 years at a stretch, alleged that the SKM was bringing a culture of political violence which he said could “weaken the political fabric of Sikkim”.

Bypolls will be held in three Assembly constituencies in the state — Poklok-Kamrang, Martam-Rumtek and Gangtok — on October 21.

A total of 15 candidates, including Tamang and former India football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia, are in the fray.

The chief minister is at present not a member of the Sikkim Assembly.

He was barred by law from contesting elections for six years after being convicted for graft.

The Election Commission had last month reduced the chief minister’s disqualification period by almost five years, enabling him to contest the bypolls.

The by-elections were necessitated as Chamling, D T Lepcha (earlier with SDF and now in BJP) and Kunga Nima Lepcha (SKM) had vacated Poklok-Kamrang, Martam-Rumtek and Gangtok constituencies respectively after winning from two seats each in the Assembly elections held earlier this year.

Martam-Rumtek and Gangtok Assembly seats are reserved for indigenous tribal communities Bhutia and Lepcha while Poklok Kamrang is a general seat.

The SKM and the BJP have forged an electoral alliance to contest the by-elections.

The saffron party will contest from Gangtok and Martam-Rumtek, while the ruling party will field its candidate from Poklok-Kamrang.