The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has forged an alliance with the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) in Sikkim for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state. The saffron party will challenge the Pawan Kumar Chamling-led Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) in the state. Briefing the media on the latest development BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav said, "The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) is the main opposition party in the state. Its President and MLAs came down to Delhi yesterday and met BJP President Amit Shah and today they came to meet me and finalised the understanding between BJP and SKM".
"We decided that both parties should fight the upcoming Parliament & Assembly elections together in Sikkim. Remaining details like seat sharing will be worked out in the next couple of days," Madhav added.
BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav: We decided that both parties should fight the upcoming Parliament & Assembly elections together in Sikkim. Remaining details like seat sharing will be worked out in the next couple of days. https://t.co/whTFZVv36z— ANI (@ANI) March 8, 2019
Early in January, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) president Prem Singh Tamang expressed confidence over their victory, saying the party will "sweep" the upcoming state assembly elections, as people are fed up of the "corrupt" Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government.
Tamang, popularly known as PS Golay, also hit out at Chamling, his one-time mentor, for "dividing" the society on caste and communal grounds for "vote bank" politics. The SKM chief had to bear with the ignominy of being disqualified from the membership of the Sikkim legislative assembly in 2016, following his conviction for a year in a corruption case.
Meanwhile, there are also reports that Tamang will contest the upcoming assembly elections in the state following clarity on the legal position under the RPA Act with regard to disqualification of a member of assembly post-conviction in a case.
Golay had rebelled against Chamling after he was denied a ministerial berth following the SDF's victory in 2009 assembly polls. Four years later, the four-term MLA had floated the SKM to take on the ruling SDF. Supported by the Sikkim Sangram Parishad, the SKM had in 2014 Assembly Elections won 10 out of the 32 seats against SDF's 22.
Seven of these 10 SKM MLAs subsequently defected to the SDF while Golay himself was convicted to a year's imprisonment in a corruption case. He was released from jail after serving out the sentence in August last year.
In the 2014 Assembly elections, the SKM was supported by the Sikkim Sangram Parishad, which had ruled the state for three terms in the 1980s and early 1990s. Sangram president Dil Kumari Bhandari had recently asked the SKM to decide whether or not it was interested in an alliance this time as well.