The best part of anything is… the morning after. Even the skies today veritably have a cautious optimism about them; there is a hint of pregnant anticipation in the air.
Yesterday, in a nail-biting day-long drama punctuated by some utter confusion with fake news being circulated, we saw the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) totter towards a most slender 17-15 victory over the long-standing Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF).
The government of Sikkim has changed. Long live the government of Sikkim. This is exactly what I was telling so many people, especially government servants who acted like they owed their jobs and loyalty to the ruling front alone, that the government of Sikkim will always survive, even if the monarchy or a ruling party does not. Sikkim above all else!
We now have the SKM in its maiden innings at governance, and we have a 15- member strong SDF contingent that will now warm the opposition benches. This is the perfect check and balance. No more autocracy. No more Speakers of the ostensibly august house of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly who do not do justice to their roles as an impartial overseer of the proceedings and upholder of the ideals of democracy.
To Mr Chamling, congratulations on being re-elected to the SLA for a record eight(?) times. You have already cemented your place in history as the longest-serving chief minister in India, and we hope that you will be a progressive Leader of the Opposition. The thing about democracy is, once its candle is lit, the power of its light is no longer the exclusive preserve of any one person or one party.
To Mr Golay, congratulations on your victory. History repeats itself. Recent Sikkimese politics has mostly been about the understudy overthrowing the principal character. We hope that the parivartan you promised is real and palpable and not just mere rhetoric. May our distinct identity under the Constitution of India be preserved, may our multi-culturalism flourish like inter-twined skeins in the tapestry of Sikkim, may our rivers and mountains and our fragile ecosystem finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief, may the system of sycophancy and fear psychosis be eradicated, and may you be wiser than your predecessors and understand that power ultimately corrupts and people can exercise their right to effect change again in another five years.
To our newly elected SKM legislators, please do not jockey for posts and please do not succumb to horse-trading and the lure of lucre. The erstwhile five SKM bikuwas fielded by the SDF all lost their deposits. That is your future as well. To the SDF elects, congratulations too. End of the day, all of you together represent the collective aspirations of the people of Sikkim.
To Indra Hang Subba, our new PC MP, congratulations, congratulations, and more congratulations! We hope to finally see a MP we can be proud of represent us in Parliament. It is not the number of MPs we send to Parliament that matters, it is the quality.
To Mr KN Lepcha and our Chothon Kaleon Sangha Lama, congratulations on your triumphant re-entry into the SLA. You actually won the hearts of your voters and more because you exemplified ethics, loyalty and grace under fire. Tashi Delek!
To Mr Ashish Rai, a big shout out for your courage and your commitment to your constituency that made everyone sit up and take notice. You are still a winner, even if people voted for the party and parivartan.
To all the fake IDs on facebook, your days of heckling people under the cover of fake IDs is over. How many vituperative potshots you took at people who dared speak out against all the wrongs plaguing our Sikkim.
I voted for lamp. Not because I was anti-umbrella, but because I want a better Sikkim for my children. And all the children of Sikkim. Will SKM deliver? I am like the skies: cautiously optimistic.
(Tenzin C Tashi is a researcher-writer and an organic farmer)