Gangtok: Opposition Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) has declared 10 new candidates with sitting MLA and party working president Kunga Nima Lepcha being announced for another constituency — Gangtok. Earlier, Lepcha was named as the party’s candidate for Shyari constituency from where he was elected in 2014 elections. Both the constituencies are reserved for the Bhutia-Lepcha community.
Lepcha expressed his gratitude to the party for being selected from two constituencies within the state capital region. The 72-year-old asserted, “The party has shown faith in me for not selling out to Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) after the 2014 elections. Seven elected MLAs left us, denting the party, but not me and Sangha MLA Sonam Lama, who have raising the issues of the people in the state Assembly over the last five years.”
The party leader highlighted that Gangtok, being the business hub of the state, has not flourished due to discrimination from the ruling SDF, with Lepcha asserting it is an assurance and mission from the SKM for business to flourish if elected with majority in the upcoming Assembly elections on April 11.
On his probability of being declared as a chief ministerial candidate from the party, the former bureaucrat said, “All the 32 candidates have the capability to be made as chief minister. The rumours of me being a CM candidate are not be believed. We are not here to be CM, but to serve the people. Without contesting, without winning also, our party workers will serve the people”.
The party leader said that a final list with the remaining candidates is being delayed in an attempt to balance the community representation from different castes and religion along with women. The same will be done over the next two days, he added.
On youth representation, Lepcha said, “The youth themselves have been saying that the experienced lot need to take over first. The party firmly believes in forming the government and that stands tall for the party workers as well.”
Among other heavyweights declared in the list include former SDF MLA BS Panth from Temi-Namphing constituency. He had been elected from the constituency in 2009 elections. Panth, who recently joined SKM, expressed confidence in defeating the SDF sitting MLA GM Gurung. He said, “Based on the support I have been receiving, I am confident of defeating the SDF candidate by a huge margin. I will bridge the gap between the people and the government taking up developmental works as per their wishes and demands.” He informed that a separate manifesto will be released for the constituency focusing on the youth of the area.
From the BL reserved constituencies, Tshering Bhutia was selected for Gnathang-Machong (East district), Karma Loday Bhutia for Kabi-Lungchok (North), Samdup Tshering Bhutia for Tumin-Lingee (South) and Phurba Tshering Bhutia for Rinchenpong (West). Other candidates for the general seats include Danish Rai for Namchaybong (East), Bishnu Kumar Khaiwada for Rhenock (East), Sanjeet Kharel for Namthang-Rateypani (South) and party general secretary Arun Upreti from Arithang constituency.
The state will go to polls on April 11.