The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) Party, representing its President Pawan Chamling on September 16 has submitted a formal representation to the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding the upcoming Parliamentary and State Elections scheduled for April-May 2024.
The representation was presented by MK Subba, Chief Spokesperson of the SDF Party to Arbind Anand, Principal Secretary, and Santosh Kumar Dubey, Secretary, Election Commission of India, at Nirwachan Sadan, Ashok Road, New Delhi.
In the comprehensive representation, the SDF Party highlighted various concerns related to governance in Sikkim, particularly focusing on the deteriorating law and order situation since the formation of the incumbent SKM government in 2019.
The party presented an overview of the current ground realities in Sikkim stating the failure of state machinery, which has led to an atmosphere of insecurity and widespread fear among the public.
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Despite submitting over 50 memoranda to various authorities, including the Government of India, the Governor of Sikkim, Chief Electoral Office Sikkim, DGP Sikkim, and Chief Secretary of the Government of Sikkim, the SDF Party claimed that corrective measures to restore the rule of law in Sikkim have not been implemented.
Given the prevailing conditions, the SDF Party expressed its apprehension that the upcoming Parliamentary and State Assembly Elections in 2024 might not be conducted freely and fairly in Sikkim. Therefore, the party urged the Election Commission of India to invoke Article 324 of the Constitution of India and take necessary actions to ensure free and fair elections in the state.
Among the concerns raised, the SDF Party noted an unusual increase in the number of voters in the latest voter list of Sikkim, exceeding the recorded annual increase. This includes specific instances, such as the 25-Upper Tadong Assembly constituency, which recorded an increase of over 8%, significantly higher than the state average of 3.8 per cent.
Additionally, the SDF Party requested an increase in the number of polling booths, citing high voter turnout and the simultaneous elections for Parliamentary and State Assembly. They proposed an average of 1,000 voters and 1,200 voters for rural and urban booths, respectively, to ensure efficient voting.
The party also suggested the segregation of polling booths located in clusters, where several booths share the same building or premises. This segregation would ease the voting process and contribute to maintaining law and order. The installation of CCTV cameras in every polling booth was recommended for enhanced security.
Recognizing Sikkim's sensitive border state status, the SDF Party called for the deployment of central paramilitary forces to ensure peace and enable voters to exercise their rights without intimidation or influence.
Finally, considering the deteriorating law and order situation, the SDF Party urged the ECI to recommend the imposition of President's Rule in Sikkim before the upcoming elections. They also requested a high-level team from the ECI to assess the ground realities in Sikkim and boost public confidence in the election process.
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