Sikkim Assembly polls: SKM racing to landslide win

Gangtok, June 2 (UNI) Steamrolling all opposition, the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) was on course to a landslide win, with victories/leads in all but one constituency in the 32-strong Sikkim Assembly, for which the vote count was underway on Sunday.

As per the Election Commission of India, Chef Minister Prem Singh Tamang-led SKM has already won 15 seats – two short of the majority mark – and was ahead in 16 other constituencies.

The main opposition Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), which ruled the tiny Himalayan state for 25 years under the chief ministership of Pawan Kumar Chamling till it was dethroned by the SKM IN 2019, was ahead in only one seat.

CM and SKM supremo Prem Singh Tamang has won from Rhenock by over 7,000 votes against his SDF rival Som Nath Poudyal, In Soreng-Chakung, the second seat he is contesting, Tamang has taken a huge lead over his nearest SDF opponent A D Subba.

Tamang’s wife Krishna Kumari is also in the lead from Namchi-Singhithang constituency on SKM ticket. SDF leader Bimal Rai is trailing by over 5,000 votes from the constituency.

On the other hand, the SDF got a big jolt as its chief Pawan Kumar Chamling lost from both Poklok-Kamrang and Namcheybung, the two seats he had contested. Chamling, who still holds the record for the longest chief ministerial tenure in independent India, went down to his SKM rivals in the two constituencies. The giants killers were Bhoj Raj Rai (Poklok-Kamrang) and Raju Basnet (Namcheybung).

Another SDF star candidate Bhaichung Bhutia is also running second to SKM nominee Rikshal Dorjee Bhutia from Barfung (BL-Reserved) seat. Bhutia, a former Indian soccer skipper, had merged his Humro Sikkim Party with Chamling’s SDF last November.

The only seat from which SDF is ahead is Shyari, where its candidate Tenzing Norbu Lamtha has been maintaining a steady lead. Lamtha switched to the SDF from SKM recently.

Altogether 147 candidates were in the fray, with the SKM and SDF fighting all the seats.

The BJP which had gone it alone after snapping its tie-up with the SKM, was unlikely to win a single seat despite contesting in 31.

In the vote count so far, the SKM has secured over 58 percent of the polled votes. The SDF has got around 28.50 percent, and the BJP a little over 5 percent of the votes. The Congress, which contested a dozen seats, has polled 0.22 percent – even less than NOTA.

The new party CAP-S (Citizen Action Party-Sikkim), which put up candidates on 30 seats, was facing a rout everywhere.

In 2019, the SKM had come to power winning 17 seats against 15 bagged by SDF.

The Sikkim Assembly polls were held on April 19.

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