New Delhi: The counting of votes for the Himalayan state of Sikkim has begun. Polls were held in all 32 Assembly seats in Sikkim on April 11 simultaneously with the first phase of Lok Sabha Elections 2019.

The two most prominent parties battling each other are the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) and Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) party. Besides, Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) led by ex-footballer Baichung Bhutia is also in the contest.

A total of 150 candidates are in the fight for 32 Assembly seats with the most prominent candidates being Pawan Kumar Chamling, his younger brother Rup Narayan Chamling and Bhaichung Bhutia.

The total voter turnout recorded on the polling date from all four districts, East, West, North and South, including Sangha seat was at 78.19 per cent, almost three per cent lower than 2014.

What is unique about the state of Sikkim is that it is the only state where Buddhist monks registered with 51 monasteries are the only ones who can contest their unique Sangha-Assembly seat.

In the 2014 Assembly elections, SDF formed the government in the state by winning 22 seats out of the 32. The SKM-led by Prem Singh Tamang won the remaining 10 seats.

Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling is the longest serving chief minister in the state who is eyeing for the sixth term in the office.

There is hardly any presence of the national parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress in the state due to their failure to establish themselves politically against the prominent regional parties in a state that is rooted in its Sikkimese tradition.