Sikkim chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling

Gangtok: Sikkim chief minister Pawan Kumar Champling has announced that the final list of candidates for Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) will be declared on March 22, and he will file his nomination on March 25. He was speaking at a press conference at his residence in Gurpisey near Namchi in South Sikkim.

On the delay in releasing the second list and on inter-party issues regarding candidature, the SDF chief said, “There are no special reasons for having the candidates declared in two phases. Before we used to announce our candidates in one list, this time we are doing it in phases, there are no other reasons.”

Further, he added that there are no differences within the party regarding the candidates.

Only “ambitious” people are indulging in groupism to put pressure on the party for a ticket, the CM said. “SDF is a democratic party and will not tolerate such indiscipline. Such persons would not get tickets, we will take disciplinary action against them,” he announced.

There are only 32 seats for which only 32 persons will get tickets. . Despite knowing the fact if people are removing the party flags shouting slogans then they are just doing it for their personal gains and not for the people, exclaimed the SDF chief.

Regarding the challenge from opposition in this election, Chamling said there is no such challenge, but since elections are taking place “I always take it as a challenge and never underestimate the opposition or overestimate myself,” he added.

Addressing the allegations of using Savari taxi as a publicity stunt for beginning his election campaign, the SDF chief said that the opposition is making such claims because they lack any original program for themselves.

The incumbent CM said he wants to form a government for the common people, and 90% of the state uses the Savari taxi, hence, I decided to start my campaign using these taxis to show respect to the common man.

Chamling said it was a new experience for him, and he felt emotionally close to the common people of Sikkim when he took a ride on the Savari taxi. The message I wanted to give was that SDF is a party of the common people of Sikkim, he added.

He said that alliances by opposition parties does not make a difference for SDF, rather, it shows how strong the party is.

The CM rubbished the opposition Sikkim Krantikari Morcha’s (SKM) election agenda of depositing Rs 5 Lakh into the bank accounts of each Sikkimese by auctioning ill-gotten properties of the corrupt. He said, “The man who is saying this is a person who gobbled the government money meant for cow distribution scheme, was convicted by the courts and sent to jail for one year. A convicted person is saying this. He has received the certificate of corruption from the court. If you see the track record of our 25 years of SDF government, you will find that not a single PIL of corruption has been admitted in the courts against us. This proves in a legal manner that SDF government is not corrupt.”

“Secondly, where there is corruption there is no development. Development takes place in a State or nation only when there is no corruption. Sikkim is most developed State in the country which proves that there is no corruption in the state,” he said, adding: “To seize and auction the assets is a long and tenuous affair. First you have to file a case, take it to the trial court and then to the higher courts. It will take years and years. So to make such statements is nothing but eyewash for the public only to fool the people.”

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