Kolkata: Bypoll results for three assembly seats in Sikkim -- Gangtok, Martam-Rumtek and Poklok-Kamrang -- will be announced on Thursday. The counting, which will decide the fate of 15 candidates, will begin at 8am.
The bypolls were necessitated after three legislators vacated one seat each as they had won two assembly seats during the state polls held in April, 2019.
Former Sikkim chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) vacated the Poklok Kamrang seat. The Gangtok and Martam Rumtek seats were vacated by Kunga Nima Lepcha of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) and DT Lepcha of SDF (shifted to BJP now) respectively.
The BJP is contesting the Gangtok and Martam-Rumtek assembly seats while its alliance partner SKM is contesting the Poklok-Kamrang seat.
While the Gangtok and Martam-Rumtek assembly seats fall in eastern Sikkim, reserved for indigenous Bhutia and Lepcha communities, the Poklok-Kamrang seat falls in south Sikkim.
Former CM Chamling, who ruled Sikkim for five successive terms between 1994 and 2019, recently suffered a major setback after 10 of his party MLAs joined the BJP, giving a major boost to the saffron party.
The BJP then formed an alliance with the SKM, giving them assurance to resolve their long pending issues including tribal status for 11 communities and reserved assembly seat for Tamang and Limboo communities.
Some of the key candidates whose fate will be decided on Thursday include Sikkim chief minister Prem Singh Tamang, who is also the president of the SKM. Tamang’s SKM won 18 of the total 32 assembly seats in the Sikkim legislative assembly. He was sworn-in as the chief minister on May 27, 2019.
The ruling SKM has 18 MLAs, BJP has 10 and the SDF has one MLA, due to the mass defection to the BJP.