Sikkim Bypoll Result: With Win from Poklom Kamrang Seat, Chief Minister Tamang Consolidates Position as New Satrap
File photo of Sikkim CM Prem Singh Tamang.
Gangtok: The electoral victory of Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, better known as PS Golay, from Poklok Kamrang Assembly seat on Thursday has enabled him to consolidate his position as the new satrap of Sikkim.
Tamang had already successfully led the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) to power in the state earlier this year by vanquishing an astute politician like Pawan Kumar Chamling.
The 51-year-old SKM chief had brought down the curtains on the 24-year rule of Chamling's Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) in May when his party bagged 17 of the 32 Assembly seats in the state.
Five months ago, Chamling had defeated Kharka Bahadur Rai of the SKM from the same seat by 2,899 votes. He vacated Poklok Kamrang and retained Namchi Singhithang from where he had also contested and won.
Tamang defeated his nearest SDF rival Moses Rai by a margin of 8,953 votes.
The SKM president was sworn in as the chief minister on May 27 although he was not a member of the Assembly then.
The Election Commission (EC) on September 29 had reduced Tamang's disqualification period by almost five years under a provision of the electoral law, paving the way for him to contest the state Assembly elections.
Tamang's disqualification period of six years, during which he was barred from contesting polls, began on August 10, 2018 -- the day he completed a year's jail term in a corruption case. It was to end on August 10, 2024. But the EC reduced it to one year and a month.
Chamling, who had questioned the legality of Tamang’s swearing-in as the chief minister, had left no stone unturned to ensure his rival's defeat at the hustings, but the latter rode on his popularity to beat his former boss at his own game.
Tamang, a trusted aide-turned bitter enemy of Chamling, had borne the brunt of the SDF rule by having a vigilance case instituted against him for embezzlement of about Rs 10 lakh when he was the animal husbandry minister between 1994 and 1999. He was subsequently convicted by a trial court and had to serve a year's sentence in a state prison two years ago.
The SKM supremo subsequently ran a massive campaign against corruption and misrule of the Chamling government in the run-up to the Assembly polls in April and went on to oust the Chamling-led SDF from power by a narrow margin of two seats, with the SKM winning 17 seats against the 15 by SDF.
Shutting the doors of a possible comeback of the 69-year-old Chamling, Tamang stitched an alliance with the BJP by giving the latter two Assembly seats - Gangtok and Martam Rumtek - while keeping Poklok Kamrang seat for himself.
Tamang has been a part of the political scene in the state since the early 1990s. After joining the SDF in 1993, he had won in the 1994 Sikkim Assembly elections from the Chakung constituency.
Once a founder-member of the SDF, Golay had rebelled against the former chief minister and floated the SKM in 2013, alleging corruption and misrule under his parent party.
Before his entry into politics, Tamang served as a graduate teacher in a state-run school. He quit the government service three years later to take up social service before joining the SDF.
Tamang had graduated from Darjeeling Government College in 1988.