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2-min read

Sikkim Assembly Elections Results 2019: Chamling-Led SDF Edging Towards Nervous Victory

In sharp contrast to previous years, the SKM stands within plausible chance of upsetting the SDF's long-standing domination in Sikkim. The Assembly seats are being contested neck-and-neck, with SDF only edging ahead of SKM in the past hour.

News18.com

Updated:May 23, 2019, 6:12 PM IST
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Sikkim Assembly Elections Results 2019: Chamling-Led SDF Edging Towards Nervous Victory
In sharp contrast to previous years, the SKM stands within plausible chance of upsetting the SDF's long-standing domination in Sikkim. The Assembly seats are being contested neck-and-neck, with SDF only edging ahead of SKM in the past hour.
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The Sikkim Assembly polls are heading into a closely contested climax, and has been the most hotly contested elections in Sikkim in recent memory. After leading the charts for much of the day, the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) seemed to have lost much of its momentum to its prime opposition, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM). However, over the past hour, word from the ground in Sikkim states that SDF has yet again edged ahead of SKM. The erstwhile ruling party leads SKM 14-12 in terms of the number of seats won.

CM Chamling has won both his seats at Poklok-Kamrang and Namchi-Singhithang. At the former, which is Chamling's home turf, the longest serving CM of India won 59.09 percent of all votes, eventually winning by a sizeable margin. The contest, however, was much tighter for him at his second seat. SKM chief PS Golay's son, Aditya Golay, has also won his home seat at Soreng-Chakung, albeit by a rather slim margin. Results of Bhaichung Bhutia's home constituency is yet to be declared, with the final counting round presently underway.

With a minimum of 17 seats required to form government, the electoral balance in Sikkim presently looks to be anyone's game, although SDF presently appears more likely to form government again. Bhaichung Bhutia-led newcomers, Hamro Sikkin Party (HSP), has failed to make an impact, and so have the BJP and INC. Voting for electing the state government was held in Sikkim at the very first phase on April 11, with a total of 150 candidates battling it out in 32 constituencies.

This is the highest number of seats that any opponent of SDF has managed to win in the Assembly polls. In 2014, the SKM registered 10 out of the 32 seats, while the SDF won in a clean sweep in 2009. The Sikkim election office reported a total of 4,32,306 eligible voters in the state, and eventual turnout of 78.19 percent, which albeit high, is lower than the 83.85 percent voter turnout recorded during the 2014 elections. A total of 150 candidates have contested for the 32 Assembly seats, with the 17 seats required to form the new government. Alongside SDF, prime opposition SKM and newcomers HSP, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC) are also looking to make inroads in Sikkim for the first time in history.

The BJP had initially struck a strategic alliance with SKM to take on the might of SDF in Sikkim. The alliance broke down soon after it was publicly announced, following which the BJP blamed SKM for having “chickened out at the last minute without giving any reasons,” as per a PTI report. Given that the SKM is giving the SDF a severe test, BJP would probably rue its missed chance, particularly on the back of its dominant performance in the rest of the North-Eastern states.

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