Gangtok: Bhaichung Bhutia-founded Hamro Sikkim Party's (HSP) recent claim that the influx of outsiders has become 'scary' in Sikkim, it seems, is unfounded.
If past data on voters is anything to go by, this is not the first time the electoral list, the latest one of which was published on January 5 this year, has shown a 'shocking' increase in the number of voters, as has been claimed by HSP spokesperson Biraj Adhikari.
As per the latest electoral list, there is a surge of 60,961 voters, which is an increase of 16% over the last list. “Where from have these people come to Sikkim? It is a really scary figure of population swelling up if the ECI record is to be believed on,” Adhikari had said.
As per the January 5 electoral list, Sikkim has 4,31,731 registered voters as against 3,70,770 during the 2014 Assembly election, an increase of 16%. However, if one were to go by state election commission data, Sikkim had 3,70,770 registered voters in 2014 as against 3,00,584 during 2009 Assembly election, which was an increase of 23%.
Similarly, there was a 20% increase in the number of registered voters during the 2009 election over the last one.
The HSP, it seems, is trying to put a “migrant” or “outsider” angle to the state assembly elections slated for later this year. Bhaichung’s party will contest in all 32 Assembly seats and the lone Lok Sabha seat in Sikkim. At a press conference earlier this month, he said that his party has coined the slogan ‘Hamro Sikkim, New Sikkim’ for its poll campaigns.
On the prospects of the HSP going for an alliance with other regional parties to take on the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), Bhaichung said he was hopeful that a partnership with a local party will be forged soon.
The HSP working president, however, ruled out chances for coalition with any national party amid rumour that his party was in dialogue with the BJP.
Hitting out at current CM Chamling and his government for pursuing divisive politics on the basis of caste and religion and reservation, Bhaichung said that development will be the “sole agenda” of his party, if the HSP comes to power.
(Tanmoy Bhaduri is a Kolkata-based independent photojournalist who focuses on social, cultural and environmental issues. He can be reached at email@example.com)