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Sat, 28 Mar 2020

Northeast Today

BJP’s Mission Sikkim makes political allies weary

BJP’s Mission Sikkim makes political allies weary
January 17
11:11 2020

NET Bureau

Known for their shrewd political strategies and ruthlessness to take political control and form governments, the senior party functionaries of the BJP are giving a tough time to the leaders of the other political parties who are overseeing party affairs of the state of Sikkim. Amar Jyoti Borah reports.

Sikkim Democratic Front which ruled Sikkim for 25 years with former Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling as the political head, was an ally of the BJP led National Democratic Alliance, and had also voted in favour of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government during the No-Confidence motion in 2018.

However, with the SDF losing power in the state and the lone MP from Sikkim losing power, the BJP warmed up to the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha which had formed the government in the state and also had won the Lok Sabha seat from the state.

What was more worrying was that leaving former Chief Minister Chamling, all the other elected MLAs of the SDF switched side to the BJP, and joined the BJP campus. This way the BJP became the main opposition party in the assembly.

However, this has come as a major threat for Chamling, as the BJP inducted all his MLAs, except him, in the party, and this way, took the political footprint of the SDF to the BJP.
In a shrewd move to gain more access to the state’s political affairs, the BJP leadership also moved into an alliance with the Chief minister Prem Singh Tamang led Sikkim Krantikari Morch, at the state, and the lone MP from the SKM is also an NDA ally,

This has however created a scenario of weariness among the political parties in Sikkim, and political leaders of various parties are of the thought that the BJP might try to induct more MLAs, from the ruling party, and try to replicate the Arunachal Pradesh model in Sikkim, which the BJP did successfully in Arunachal Pradesh.

In Arunachal Pradesh, where the Congress was ruling a majority government, the BJP engineered mass-defection and formed the government in the state, and after that, the BJP won a second term in the state assembly election in 2019, which was held simultaneously with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP has deputed several senior leaders to keep a tab on the whole development there in Sikkim, and according to BJP central leadership sources, the saffron party is not eager to form a government immediately in the state.

“We are monitoring the political situation closely and conveying our feedbacks. However, this is just to ensure political stability and to ensure a good working relationship between the government and the opposition. We are monitoring the situation to ensure that no such situation occurs which might impact the political stability in the state,” said a senior BJP secretary who is overseeing the political affairs in Sikkim.
According to BJP sources, the saffron party is not keen on forming the state as it doesn’t have a political footprint in the state and had become the largest opposition party without winning a single seat, when elected MLAs of the SDF defected and joined the BJP. In the by-election after the state assembly election in 2019, the BJP won two seats.

“The situation in both Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim are different—though both are smaller states in terms of assembly constituencies. In Arunachal Pradesh, the BJP was in government earlier, and even present union minister Kiren Rijiju was an MP from the state. But in Sikkim, the BJP is yet to make electoral footprint,” said the BJP secretary.

But this has also put the SKM on a very shaky ground, and according to political sources of the SKM, the party leadership has reached out to the present BJP leadership, including the BJP National President and Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, to ensure that its MLAs are not touched.

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But it is also being looked at, as a strategy by the BJP to put pressure on the newly formed Sikkim government and the lone Lok Sabha MP from Sikkim to support and cooperate on the central government’s policies and steps.

“The government is planning to introduce and pass many crucial bills in the parliament in the next few sessions, and vote of every MP is important,” said the BJP secretary.

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