SKM leader Melli Sonam quit the party over disappointment for not getting party ticket for the upcoming elections

Gangtok: Nuk Tshering Bhutia, the person who accused and won the case against Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) leader PS Golay on a corruption case, resigned from the party after not being named as a candidate from Martam-Rumtek constituency.

At a press conference on Tuesday, SKM state coordinator Bhutia, popularly known as Melli Sonam, said that he was overlooked for putting the party’s supreme leader behind bars in 2017-18. He said, “My case was not against PS Golay, but it was over a CBI inquiry into the alleged corruption charges in 1998. There is no denying that Golay, even when he was a minister under the SDF party, tried to buy me out to drop the case and offered me Rs 10 lakh in the MLA Hostel here. When the matter reached the court, it was evident that he was guilty all because of his absence. Following this, I was suspended from the party for a period of six months, but later I was welcomed.”

Melli, then a Sikkim Sangram Parishad leader, along with a party member, had filed a PIL in this regard in 2003, following which Golay was convicted for misappropriation of funds under Prevention of Corruption Act when he was minister for animal husbandry, livestock and fisheries in 1996-97 under the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government. He served a one-year jail period in 2017-18.

On being denied of candidature, Melli Sonam said, “The party in its current wave is welcoming the new, and forgetting all those who contributed to PS Golay and his party since its inception. Similar was the case against me, I was with him days before he went to jail. I supported his family. But, most importantly, I was the front runner for the Martam-Rumtek constituency, yet I was overlooked.” He also claimed that for each constituency, the party had several able contenders but most of them were overlooked.

Bhutia added that there is a rift within the party and it is evident by the viral video clip that features party spokesperson Jacob Khaling speaking against party supremo Golay. “I was there when Jacob Khaling made those statements and I can assure you 100% that it was him who made those statements. The party is currently run by three to four people and there is a lack of presence of party cadres. There is a vast difference between the party of 2014 and the party of 2019,” he added.

Although he didn’t say anything on joining the SDF, Bhutia, while taking the example of the recent fallout with BJP, said that the ruling front has better leaders compared to the SKM. “I am yet to decide which party I will join, but the same will happen before elections. I don’t believe in fighting independently, as our voters do not have the mindset to endorse an independent candidate yet,” he added.

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