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Tectonic shift: Lotus blooms in regional party bastion Sikkim as BJP gets ten MLAs

UNI India-English 2019-08-13 20:43:16

New Delhi, Aug 13 (UNI) After making its imprint in seven north eastern states, the BJP on Tuesday took a giant and decisive step to emerge as a force to reckon with in the eighth state of Sikkim as ten sitting legislators from regional outfit SDF switched over to the saffron camp.
"We want Lotus - BJP's election symbol - to bloom in Sikkim," D T Lepcha, five-time legislator, told reporters here signaling tectonic shift in the state's polity as it is for the first time a national political party has made its mark in Sikkim - which has been traditionally a regional party bastion.
The Congress and the BJP - both as national parties - have struggled hard over the years to make it big in the crucial north eastern state situated strategically close to China, Bhutan and Nepal.
Though his party Sikkim Krantikari Morcha stormed to power in state polls held this year, the incumbent Sikkim chief minister Prem Singh Tamang is however, not an elected MLA of the House.
The state is - thus - heading for interesting political developments as there would be by-elections in three vacant assembly seats round the corner.
For their part, BJP leaders like Ram Madhav has said - "BJP will play the role of a constructive opposition in Sikkim".
In fact, the whispering in the saffron camp already begun that the BJP is within the striking distance to 'power' in the scenic Himalayan state.
"I welcome all those who have joined the BJP today. SDF is the opposition in Sikkim. Now, the BJP can take up constructive opposition role in Sikkim," Mr Madhav said.
In the state assembly elections earlier this year, Pawan Kumar Chamling-led SDF suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of newly floated regional outfit Sikkim Krantikari Morcha.
Launched in 2013, the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha bagged 17 seats, one more than required for a majority in the 32-member Assembly while Mr Chamling's SDF could manage 15 seats.
Now, out of fifteen MLAs - ten have moved to the BJP on Tuesday obviously giving the country's ruling party a major boost in its campaign in the north east.
Mr Chamling, however, was elected from two Assembly constituencies in the state polls in May.
Mr Chamling had first become Chief Minister on December 12, 1994.
In April 2018, Mr Chamling surpassed the record of the Marxist veteran Jyoti Basu, who ruled West Bengal for 23 years from June 21, 1977 till November 6, 2000.
Sikkim remained a fiefdom of regional parties and prior to Chamling it was Nar Bahadur Bhandari’s Sikkim Sangram Parishad, which remained in power for long.
The Congress party - which ruled all across seven other states, it could not make deeper inroads into Sikkim.
The BJP has its own Chief Minister (s) in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura and shares power with NDPP in in Nagaland and NPP in Meghalaya.
In Mizoram, MNF is in power and the state-level party is a constituent of the NDA though BJP does not have any MLA in the state.