SDF president and Sikkim chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling announced the list of party candidates.  Credit: EastMojo Image

Gangtok: The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) in Sikkim has announced the names of 18 party candidates, dropping nine sitting MLAs, including Speaker KN Rai and three ministers, for the forthcoming Assembly elections.

SDF president and state chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling announced the list of party candidates on Friday. Assembly elections in Sikkim will be held on April 11 along with the Lok Sabha polls. The state assembly has 32 seats.

State assembly Speaker KN Rai, who represents the Poklok Kamrang assembly seat in South Sikkim, has been denied nomination this time with the chief minister himself deciding to contest from this constituency.

Chamling, who is seeking election for the eighth successive term, will also contest from his traditional seat, Namchi Singithang in South Sikkim, which he had won by a convincing margin in the 2014 polls too.

Chamling has dropped three ministers — Sher Bahadur Subedi, Arjun Kumar Ghatani and Tulsi Devi Rai — and replaced them with new candidates. Five other ruling party MLAs have been denied re-nomination in the first list of candidates.

The 18 candidates are — Dechen Ongmu Bhutia (Yoksam- Tashiding), N K Subba (Maneybong-Dentam), I M Sharma (Gyalshing Barnyak), K S Lepcha(Rinchenpong), Pem Norbu Sherpa (Daramdin), Dhan Kumari Kami (Salghari-Zoom), Pawan Chamling (Poklok Kamrang), Pawan Chamling (Namchi Singithang), Pharwanti Tamang (Melli), Birjan Tamang (Namthang Rateypani), G M Gurung(Temi Namphing), Raj Kumar Thapa (Rangang Yangang), Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia (Tumen Lingi), D T Lepcha (Gnathang- Machong), Em Prasad Shara (Namcheybung), G T Dhungel(Upper Tadong), Pintso Chopel Lepcha (Gangtok), Pintso Namgyal Lepcha (Djongu).

Of the 18 candidates, three are women -Dhan Kumar Kami (Salghari Zoom), Pharwanti Tamang (Melli) and Raj Kumari Thapa (Rangang-Yangyang) even as two women MLAs – Tulshi Devi Rai (Melli) and Tilu Gurung (Namthang Ratepaney) have been denied re-nomination.

The candidates of the 14 remaining Assembly seats will be announced later, SDF spokesperson Kisor Kharka said.

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