Prem Singh Tamang on Saturday took oath for the second time as the state Chief Minister. A fresh oath of office and secrecy was administered by Governor Ganga Prasad in a formal ceremony held late evening at Sikkim House in New Delhi.
The fresh appointment and swearing-in was necessitated following the completion of Tamang’s six-month term as Chief Minister, and his election to the Sikkim Legislative Assembly after winning the by-poll in October this year from 10 Poklok Kamrang assembly constituency.
Earlier in the day, the Legislative Party of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) had submitted a formal resolution to the Governor, reposing their faith on Prem Singh Tamang aka Golay, and unanimously electing him as the leader of the party. All the Cabinet Ministers and SKM legislators, the Chief Secretary, Resident Commissioner of Sikkim House and other officials of Home Department were present at the ceremony.
SKM founder and president, Golay had served a one-year jail term in 2017 after being convicted in a case involving the misappropriation of government funds when he was a minister in the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government, and in charge of the animal husbandry department between 1994 and 1999. He was released in August 2018.
According to the law, a politician cannot contest any election for six years from the date he or she was released from prison. Golay was first sworn in as Chief Minister in May this year, but his appointment was challenged by an SDF member who filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court, arguing that in view of his disqualification from elections for six years from the date of release, Golay cannot be appointed the Chief Minister.
Golay then approached the Election Commission of India for a waiver of the remaining period of his disqualification, which was granted. From six years, the ECI reduced his period of disqualification to a year and a month, after which Golay could contest the byelections.
The Governor of Sikkim also administered oath of office and secrecy to the 11-member council of ministers - Kunga Nima Lepcha, Sonam Lama, Bedu Singh Panth, Mani Kumar Sharma, Arun Kumar Upreti, Samdup Lepcha, Lok Nath Sharma, Mingma Norbu Sherpa, Karma Loday Bhutia, Bhim Hang Limboo and Sanjit Kharel.
The ceremony was necessitated at Delhi due to travel restrictions for the Governor on health concerns.
The oath ceremony was also attended by the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Sikkim Legislative Assembly and all the MLAs of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, Chief Secretary and senior Government officials.