In a significant development in Sikkim's political landscape, former Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) minister GM Gurung, CB Karki, and former legislator Chandra Maya Subba have joined the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) party. The leaders joined the SKM in the presence of Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang during the concluding event of SKM's public outreach program Ghar Dailo Abhiyan held at Rangpo.
The SKM welcomed the three new members along with over 5000 supporters. SKM chief, Prem Singh Tamang, popularly known as PS Golay, expressed his satisfaction with the development and lauded the new members for their decision to join the party.
However, Golay was quick to criticize the SDF and former Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling for declaring Shok Diwas on March 4, which marks the SDF's foundation day. Golay accused the SDF of instigating the observation of Shok Diwas against the SKM government's alleged inaction on the immigrant issue. He clarified that the SKM had resolved the issue a month ago and that SDF's move to observe Shok Diwas was out of fear of low turnout on their foundation day.
Golay also announced that the SKM would not call for a Sikkim Bandh on March 4, which the party had earlier declared as retaliation against the SDF's call for a bandh on SKM's foundation day on February 4-5. He said that the SDF's call for a bandh on SKM's foundation day had failed miserably and that the SKM did not want to indulge in revenge politics.
In his address, Golay also urged Pawan Kumar Chamling to retire from politics gracefully. He alleged that Chamling was not retiring from politics because he wanted his daughter, Harvard-educated Komal Chamling, to debut in electoral politics in 2024. Golay questioned the government's scholarship scheme, which allowed Komal to receive Rs. 22 lakhs in scholarship despite not belonging to the Below Poverty Line category. He claimed that the scheme denied a deserving student an opportunity to study in a prestigious university and raised questions on how Komal could be a people-centric leader in the future.
The defection of three prominent leaders from the SDF to the SKM is a significant development, with Sikkim gearing up for the 2024 Assembly elections. The SKM will undoubtedly benefit from the addition of the new members, while the SDF may have to re-evaluate its strategy to keep its support base intact.
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