Gangtok: On the first day of his new innings as an Opposition leader in the Sikkim legislative assembly, after being in power for almost 25 years as the chief minister of the state, Pawan Kumar Chamling had to face some embarrassing moments inside the House on Monday.
When the members of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), under his leadership, started leaving the House demanding immediate removal of Prem Singh Golay from the post of state chief minister, a section of ‘guests’ from the lobby started shouting: “Chamling chor hain (Chamling is a thief).” This section of people also made some derogatory statements on the former chief minister and his other party members.
“The hooting or sloganeering was done not just by the elected representatives but by the anti-social elements from the lobby that will kill democracy,” Chamling later said.
Claiming that such incidents have happened for the first time in the country, the former chief minister stated, “From the lobby itself, when the Opposition party members were addressing the House, they started shouting. This is not merely an act of uncivilization, but a grave crime as well. Such acts may be taking place for the first time in the history of the country. Apart from the elected representatives, no one has the right to place their opinion or argument inside the House. All the media persons and the officials are advised to maintain silence in the House. But, the goondas of the SKM party hooted today. It portrays not just Sikkim is unsafe but the House itself is unsafe. It is an undemocratic act and the SDF party condemns the same.”
Severely criticising the new chief minister, the SDF said that it was really unfortunate that Golay has failed to utter a single word against such heinous crime that took place inside the House.
“From the streets to the market, from rural to the urban, to even the assembly House today, SKM goonda gardi is evident,” the party regretted.
On the governor’s decision as per the Article 164 of the Indian Constitution, the former state chief minister said, “The governor stands powerful and it is his decision to induct Prem Singh Golay as chief minister. I have nothing to say against it. It is his power. We believe, it is our right to oppose it.”
Meanwhile, Chamling asserted that the party legislators will boycott the proceedings of the Sikkim State Legislative Assembly until the new CM vacated his seat.
The SDF claimed that it will continue to walk out of the assembly citing the reason that Golay being a non-elected member of the House “who does not have the right to be a member of the legislative assembly”.
Quoting example from the Supreme Court of India verdict dating back to 2001 with regards to the judgement passed by the five-member jury in the case of ‘BR Kapoor Vs the State of Tamil Nadu’, the Opposition leader said, “Be it the Prime Minister or the chief minister or a minister, as per Article 173 and 191 of the Indian Constitution, once they are disqualified, he stands illegible to contest or stand in the position.”
Members of the SDF boycotted the oath-taking ceremony of the elected members on the floor of the House. Pro-tem Speaker Sangay Lepcha administered the oath to all the elected members of 32-member House.
The House subsequently elected the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha first-term MLA LB Das as the Speaker by consensus, while the Pro-Tem Speaker Sangay Lepcha was elected as the Deputy Speaker.
“As per the SC ruling, current chief minister does not have the right to stand in the position for even a second. Such illegal way of formation and running of the state government will pave all proceedings, government decisions and declarations are illegal. Hence, we boycotted the assembly today,” added Chamling while addressing the media at the SDF party office in Bye Pass Road in Gangtok.