New Delhi, April 15: Dilli Ram Thapa of Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) won the Upper Burtuk constituency in the Sikkim bye-elections. Thapa won the constituency with a margin of 8032 votes. This win by SDF is bound to serve a big blow to both Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. The bypoll for the constituency of Upper Burtuk was held on April 12 and it registered total voter turn out of 69.4 per cent.

Seven parties were contesting the Upper Burtuk bye-elections. Initially it was thought that the main contest will be between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which fielded Suresh Khanal Sharma and the Congress which fielded Sumitra Rai.However, as counting began, it became quite clear that the real contest was between SDF’s Dilli Ram Thapa and BJP’s Suresh Khanal Sharma. Congress in this contest failed to impress and BJP came in second.

The bypoll was necessitated in the constituency after sitting MLA Prem Singh Tamang, leader of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party, was disqualified on charges of misappropriation of funds during his tenure as the state minister of Animal Husbandry department in 1996-97.

On the polling day 16 polling stations were set up in the constituency and out of that eight were declared as critical. Also, to check any untoward incident during the bye-elections, more than hundred fifty police personnel from Sikkim Armed Force were deployed on April 12. As per All India Radio (AIR) the Sikkim Armed Force was also deployed to ensure free, fair and peaceful election.

This win by Sikkim’s regional party does in a way show that people in the state would rather confide in SDF than a national party. Moreover, in all of this question is also that of the popularity of the candidates fielded in the constituency. Moreover, the margin was fairly big enough to show which way the public opinion swayed.