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BJP Fails to Form Alliance With Opposition SKM, Earns Praise From Ruling SDF

Sources said the failed alliance is because of differences over seat sharing between the two parties, although the SKM leadership had said they will not join hands with the BJP until certain demands are met.

Karishma Hasnat | CNN-News18

Updated:March 15, 2019, 10:01 PM IST
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BJP Fails to Form Alliance With Opposition SKM, Earns Praise From Ruling SDF
File photo of BJP General Secretary, Ram Madhav.
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Guwahati: A week after BJP’s national general secretary and northeast in charge Ram Madhav said that the party has forged an alliance with the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha for the Lok Sabha and assembly elections in the state, the SKM has poured cold water over the saffron party’s plans.

On Friday, the SKM announced that there will be no alliance with the BJP, and the party would contest the elections on its own. No reason was given for the alliance not working out. Sources told News18 that differences over seat sharing between the two parties made the SKM pull out.

However, a day after Madhav had announced the tie-up, the SKM leadership had put forth a list of demands that it said was central to the alliance.

The list included restoration of Nepali seat, reservation for two scheduled tribes - Limboo and Tamang - in Sikkim legislative assembly, tribal status for 11 ‘left out’ communities, no imposition of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Himalayan state and free functioning of CBI in Sikkim.

On March 14, SKM officially announced the alliance with the BJP, which prompted senior leader of ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) and the state’s lone Lok Sabha member, PD Rai, to say that the main opposition party has been 'sold out’.

But in a turn of events on Friday, former MP and SDF spokesperson, Bhim Dahal, welcomed the SKM and BJP parting ways. He called it BJP’s decision and said its alliance with SKM would have been a ‘national disgrace’.

He was referring to Sikkim’s opposition leader and SKM founder president, Prem Singh Tamang, aka Golay, who had served a one year jail term in 2017 after being convicted of misappropriation of government fund when he was a minister in SDF government, and in charge of the animal husbandry department between 1994 and 1999.

“BJP calls itself a clean party, speaks against corruption, and then goes on to forge alliance with a party whose president has a criminal background. We were shocked to know of their tie-up with SKM. If the BJP leadership have now decided against it, it’s a welcome move. It means they stand true to what they preach,” says Dahal.

Meanwhile, the ruling SDF announced its first list of candidates on Friday. The 18 candidates includes 10 new faces and four women candidates.

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, who is seeking election for the eighth consecutive term, will contest from his traditional seat – Namchi Singithang in South Sikkim, which he had won by a comfortable margin in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Chamling would also contest from Poklok Kamrang assembly constituency.

While SKM refrained from addressing media, opposition Hamro Sikkim Party announced its first list of six candidates, two among which are women.

“Our candidates are clean and young faces who each have a proven track record in public service. The party is confident that its slogan ‘Naya Sikkim Hamro Sikkim’ will be realized in the upcoming elections,” says HSP spokesperson, Biraj Adhikari.

The Sikkim Legislative Assembly has 32 MLAs. The Assembly will go to election along with Lok Sabha polls that will be held in the Himalayan state on April 11.
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