Prem Das Rai is Sikkim Democratic Front’s sitting MP Credit: Twitter

Gangtok: Sikkim Democratic Front’s (SDF) sitting MP Prem Das Rai said that Bharatiya Janta Party has made the Limboo-Tamang seat reservation issue as a “strategic political weapon” by denying the political reservation right now, despite it being at their desk for well over two years.

Rai was reacting to BJP general secretary Ram Madhav’s statement that the party will provide the Limboo-Tamang (LT) reservation only after the 2019 elections. He said, “The BJP government had over two years to study the issue yet they denied it despite the ruling from Supreme Court of India. They have agreed that it was within the realms of the central government. They could have given it but they didn’t. Therefore, now they are saying that they will give [LT reservation] proves that it was a strategic political weapon. We have already expressed that a certain section of population within Sikkim didn’t want the two communities to get it. He proved the point we had been making and we thank him for that.”

The SDF spokesperson further claimed that the state government has adequate evidence to show that the Centre was in agreement with the state’s proposal. “They have not told the state government that we have to revise it [the proposal for reservation for Limboo-Tamang tribes] neither have they said that they will not give it. The Supreme Court of India has emphasised … that the seats need to be given and it stands as regrettable that BJP couldn’t give the same,“ Rai said, adding that the Prime Minister and the BJP president are in alignment with the view of chief minister Chamling, however, Ram Madhav’s statement just before the election is “very loose” in nature.

On SDF gate-crashing the NDA and NEDA meetings, as claimed by the senior BJP leader at a party function in Ranipool on Friday, Rai said that the both the chief minister and he spoke at the meeting on the time slot allotted to them. He said, “I have letters by Parliamentary affairs minister to attend NDA meetings. He is not going to fool the people of Sikkim.”

On a possible alliance with BJP, Rai said, “We will come to that particular issue when we will come to that bridge.” He said that before elections a lot of things are said, but after elections, they change drastically. Elsewhere, the SDF leader slammed both the BJP and the SKM for working on a background alliance after the polls, wherein he stated, “We do realise there is some kind of an alliance in the background despite SKM claiming that the alliance not taking place earlier.”

Regarding criticism by the BJP leader on rampant corruption in the state, and the state’s budget being floated to casinos and hotels in Kathmandu, Rai countered: “If all the money was going to Kathmandu, it would be well known to the masses. The BJP is known for their ‘jumla’, it is certainly expected that they will make all kinds of false allegations. They will try and intrude into Sikkim and I would want to warn the people to be very judicious in bringing any party to power in Sikkim.”

About Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) MP candidate Indra Hang Subba being targeted by the SDF party, Rai said that the ruling party wants clarity on Subba’s stand as an MP, whether he will work for a certain section of people or for the wider perspective of Sikkim. “When he is a Physics post-graduate, why is he joining a party which has a convicted person as its leader? It’s a mine field for him and he better be warned right now when he is beginning his political journey. Every step he takes he will be watched very carefully. He is being singled out because he represents a party who think they are our opposition and we will take it as it comes. He will be the strongest candidate among all the other contenders therefore we will have to attack him.”

The SDF leader had called the media at his residence to address the issue of rampant violence allegedly being carried out by the SKM party. “Golay is a convict and his party is filled with goondas and the same is being made evident with their violent acts. We cannot tolerate the same and we demand that the Chief Election Officer and the DGP to take actions. A video of our sitting MLA being searched by observers is being made viral. We would request the election commission to find the mole who is publicising such videos.” The party leader also claimed that cadres within the party are being controlled from acting violently and also as a ruling front, the SDF party condemns such acts of violence.

On being questioned of a senior SDF leader being caught distributing money, Rai stated, “There is no denying that SKM is also distributing money but all of that has been hearsay and there is no clear evidence to prove the same on either side.”

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