Sikkim Damai Samaj held a press conference in Gangtok, Sikkim on Saturday

Gangtok: The Sikkim Damai Samaj (SDS) has expressed its dissatisfaction over the absence of any representation of the community among the Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates declared by the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) on Saturday.

The SC community of Sikkim has two seats reserved in the state Assembly — Zoom-Salghari (West Sikkim) and West Pendam (East Sikkim). The community with a population of about 15,000 has been denied of their political representation for three times over the course of the last five terms of the SDF’s tenure in the state, alleges SDS.

Addressing media persons at Press Club of Sikkim, SDS general secretary Vishal Trikhatri said, “The reservation given to the Scheduled Castes is also for equal representation of the two dominant communities — Kami and Damai. But over the years, the Kami community has been favoured over the Damai. After Dhan Kumari Kami was declared from Zoom-Salghari, we were hopeful that a Damai candidate would be given the party ticket for West Pendam, but the same was overlooked by SDF president Pawan Kumar Chamling and the Parliamentary committee of the party.”

The SDF declared Gopal Barialy as the candidate for the reserved West Pendam constituency on Friday.

Over the course of 25 years, two people from the Damai community have been elected as MLAs, while one representative has contested unsuccessfully.

“It is not as though we are raising the issue for the first time. We had met the chief minister who acknowledged the discrimination when we met him on March 17. He had assured of adequate representation apart from telling us that the understanding for the same must be maintained between the two communities. But it is the party which has failed to deliver us equal political representation despite community and its representatives through Sikkim Damai Samaj submitting a memorandum”, said SDS president Jit Man Maley.

The president asserted on having many able candidates for representation from the community.

The SDS has urged the ruling front to reconsider their decision until the day of the scrutiny, all in an attempt to have their representation in the state Assembly. “We are asking for the SDF and its supremo to reconsider his decision, as we are not going against the party. The ruling party is where we see to be represented from. We are not going against the party nor are we economically positioned to file for independent candidature. We are still hopeful if not then we feel we are being denied of our political rights as a schedule caste community, which is great violation of the reservation,” added Maley.

SDS has threatened to take out a mass movement if it is denied representation in the state Assembly.

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