Gangtok: Supporters of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) bid a painful farewell to their beloved leader, outgoing chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, at Mintokgang — his official residence for the past 25 years — in Gangtok on Sunday.
After losing the recently-held assembly elections to PS Golay-led Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), Chamling vacated his official residence and headed towards his native place at Namchi in South Sikkim on Sunday. The election results were declared on May 23.
Chamling, who served the state as the chief minister for 25 years, was first given a guard of honour by IRBn jawans of the Sikkim Police and then escorted by his supporters in a mass car rally.
While speaking to the media, Chamling shared that he has no regrets as in his 25 years of tenure, he only worked for the welfare of his people. “The only fear I have now is whether Sikkim will be able to sustain the development it has achieved,” he said.
“My role as an opposition leader will be positive, constructive and democratic and SDF will try to be an exemplary opposition party in the country,” he announced.
“People have chosen SKM as their government this time and I respect their decision from the bottom of my heart,” said Chamling. He also congratulated SKM president Golay and his elected candidates.
Likewise, Chamling also congratulated the people of Sikkim for their success in bringing their choice of government to power. “In a democracy, you have to accept public’s mandate and I feel the people of Sikkim haven’t rejected SDF. Rather I take this in a positive way by saying that they have just exchanged SDF’s role in the political battle of Sikkim. They have given us the responsibility of opposition and I promise to stand by this role and their order firmly,” he added.
When questioned what post he will hold now, Chamling responded: “I will play the role of whatever my legislature demands. If they want me to be the leader of opposition, I will accept their decision”.
“I consider myself as a political soldier who is into politics for Sikkim and its people. I don’t do politics for my personal benefit. I have and will always work for the welfare of Sikkimese. Only people know how hard I have worked for them and only they know why they want to see me as an opposition this time. It’s their choice and I respect it,” he added.
“I will work mostly from Gangtok but I will also be staying in Namchi and Geyzing. I will also visit the remote areas of Sikkim and continue with my programmes,” assured Chamling.