New Delhi: Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang on Thursday won the by-poll by a margin of 8,953 votes. As per an election officer, Tamang defeated his nearest rival Moses Rai of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF). While he registered 10,811 votes, Rai polled 1,858 votes.

An estimated 68% of around 44,500 voters turned up to cast their votes in the bypolls. The highest voter turnout of 79.36% was recorded at Poklok Kamrang constituency where the CM is contesting.

Former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia is contesting from Gangtok on Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) ticket.

The BJP, which drew a blank in the Sikkim Assembly elections earlier this year, had on September 28 announced that it has tied up with the ruling SKM in the state for the October 21 by-polls to three Assembly seats. Tamang, whose Sikkim Krantikari Morcha Party (SKM) won the state Assembly elections held in April, took over as the chief minister on May 27. However, he could not contest the elections as he was disqualified over charges of misappropriation of government funds in the 1990s. He had to contest the election within six months of becoming the CM to hold his office.

The by-polls were necessitated as former chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling (SDF), legislators DT Lepcha (earlier with SDF and now in BJP) and Kunga Nima Lepcha (SKM) had vacated Poklok Kamrang, Martam Rumtek and Gangtok seats respectively after winning from two seats each.