In big Sikkim boost for BJP, 10 SDF MLAs join party

10 Sikkim Democratic Front MLAs join BJP in presence of the party National General Secretary Ram Madhav in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

As many as 10 MLAs of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) joined the BJP on Tuesday, in a major boost to party in the Northeast. The development catapulted BJP into the status of the main Opposition party in Sikkim where it drew a blank in the last Assembly elections earlier this year. The SDF MLAs joined the saffron party in New Delhi.

“The SDF got 13 MLAs this time and its Legislative party (10 MLAs) has decided to merge with the BJP. We will now play the role of a constructive Opposition in Sikkim,” said BJP general secretary Ram Madhav.

Among them were five-time MLA and a Minister for three terms Dorjee Tshering Lepcha and three-time MLA Ugen Gyatso.

“This is the first time MLAs of a regional party in Sikkim have joined BJP en bloc. We are happy with the ‘look east’ policy of the Narendra Modi government and want to ensure that lotus blooms in Sikkim,” said Lepcha.

 

The SDF led by the Pawan Chamling, the longest-serving chief minister was ousted from power by Sikkim Krantikari Morcha earlier this year after ruling the state for 25 years. While SDF won 15 seats the SKM won 17 seats. However, SDF’s total strength in the Assembly came down to 13 as two of its MLAs had won from two seats each and had to resign from one seat each.

MLAs of a party will not face disqualification under the anti-defection law if they join another party in two thirds or more numbers.

The saffron party which is running the government either on its own strength or as an alliance partner with regional parties in most of the north-eastern states has not been able to make a mark in Sikkim earlier. Now with the SDF MLAs joining it, BJP has received a major push taking it closer to power in the Himalayan state.

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