New Delhi: Sikkim will vote for the simultaneous Assembly polls and Lok Sabha elections on April 11, 2019. Sikkim has two main parties– the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) led by Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling and the opposition Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) party. However, this time, another political outfit is in the fray, that is, Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) led by ex-footballer Baichung Bhutia.
Sikkim’s 32-member legislative Assembly will end its term on May 27, 2019. As per reports, a total of 150 candidates will contest the Assembly elections from the 32 Assembly seats.
It may be noted that this is the fourth time in a row when the state is witnessing the conduct of Assembly and Lok Sabha elections simultaneously. A total of 4,23,167 electorate are expected to cast their vote in the upcoming polls, out of which 2,16,133 males, 2,07,032 females and two are transgenders. The majority of voters are in 18-45 years age group.
Incumbent Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling who has been ruling the state since 1994 will contest and is eyeing a sixth consecutive term. Besides Chamling, other candidates who are in the fray are- Chamling’s younger brother Rup Narayan Chamling and HSP working president and former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia.
Chamling will contest from two Assembly seats – Poklok–Kamrang and his home seat Namchi Singhithang from South Sikkim and Bhutia will fight from the Gangtok (BL) and Tumen Lingi seats from East and South Sikkim. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has formed an alliance with SKM to contest the election in the state.
In the 2014 Assembly elections, SDF formed the government by winning 22 seats out of the 32. It garnered 55 per cent votes while SKM led by Prem Singh Tamang won the rest of the 10 seats with a 40.8 per cent vote share.
Sikkim became part of India in 1975 has been taking part in elections since 1977. Since 1996, SDF has retained power in the state.