Mangan: There was an air of festivity and excitement in north Sikkim as candidates, both from the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) and opposition Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), started their election campaign on Saturday afternoon.
Tshering Wangdi Lepcha, sitting MLA and SDF’s candidate for Lachen-Mangan constituency, was welcomed in a grand manner by his supporters in Mangan bazar. Lepcha’s name was declared in the second list announced at the party’s office in Gangtok on Friday evening.
Supporters offered khadas and marched alongside Lepcha waving party flags and sloganeering ‘Jai Pawan Chamling, Jai SDF’.
North Sikkim, geographically the largest district of the state but with the least population, comprises three assembly constituencies — Kabi-Tingda, Lachen-Mangan and Dzongu.
The candidates for these three constituencies from both ruling SDF and opposition SKM for Lachen-Mangan are the same this year as it was during the 2014 elections. Lepcha had defeated SKM’s Sandup Lepcha with a close margin.
This time too, both the contestants seem to be confident and are ready for the political battle. “I am thankful to our party president chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling for believing in my capability yet again. Due to the delay in the ticket announcements, I have less time for campaigning in my area but I have faith in myself and my people,” said Tshering Wangdi Lepcha.
Likewise, SKM candidate Sandup Lepcha started his campaign almost a week ago.
“The election spree is on. I am getting positive response from the public. Every time I meet them, I see and hear them aspiring for ‘parivartan‘. I don’t know about the future but at present, I believe in myself, my party and my people who are up for [a] change in them and the state,” said Sandup Lepcha.
While, interacting with the locals in Mangan on Saturday, there were some common issues raised by them and were expected to be solved by their respective leaders:
* Proper road connectivity, be it by the government or GREF.
* Better health, education, water and electricity facilities.
* Better implementation of PMGSY roads.
* Rs 15 crore sanctioned for Rafong Khola should be utilised soon before the rainy season takes over in Mangan.