Interesting times are ahead for politics in the Himalayan state; we see that playing out soon, said the 2-time Parliamentarian from Sikkim Democratic Front
Gangtok: With the 10 Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) MLAs joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently, former Lok Sabha MP and SDF spokesperson PD Rai on Sunday claimed that the NDA government will come to power in Sikkim within the next five to six months, suggesting that some MLAs from the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) may be jumping on the bandwagon.
Rai, who represented the SDF in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre and the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in the region, told a Guwahati-based news channel that some interesting times are ahead for politics in Sikkim. “In the next five to six months, we see that playing out,” Rai was quoted as saying by the media house.
With 10 of the 13 SDF MLAs joining the national party earlier this week, speculations are rife – especially taking into consideration the scenario in Arunachal Pradesh and Karnataka – that BJP will force its way to form the government in Sikkim.
After the defection, the BJP has become the main opposition in the 32-member Sikkim Legislative Assembly overnight without having won a single election till date – be it civic polls or rural polls.
Although BJP leader Ram Madhav recently said the party will play the role of opposition in Sikkim, the saffron party is thinking beyond that, said sources. Rai’s statements hinted that there is a big possibility of BJP forming the government in Sikkim. “There will be some shifts in the government within the next 5-6 months. This is what my prediction is,” he added.
However, for Rai’s predictions to come true, some MLAs from the ruling SKM will have to switch to BJP. “The BJP will finally work out with the SKM MLAs. It’s for them to decide. We can only speculate that BJP will want to form a strong and stable government which will work for the people of Sikkim. I think that is what, ultimately, BJP will drive towards. It is only a matter of time,” Rai said, adding that the locus of power has shifted to the BJP.
Rai also agreed that the SDF leaders are predicting a split in SKM. “I am sure few of them (SKM legislators) are already very sympathetic towards the BJP,” Rai said, adding that there is a problem within the power structure in SKM.
The SDF spokesperson further informed that regionalism is collapsing because of a very powerful Central government and he believes that consolidation will continue for some more time till the time there is a reversal again.
On both SDF and SKM being close to the BJP, Rai said, “All that I can say is that if you look at the history of SDF, the party for the last five years, during Modi’s first term, has been part of the NDA. Having represented the party at NDA as well as NEDA, I can say without a shadow of doubt that we have a history of relationship which culminated in the meeting in Ashok [The Ashok Hotel in New Delhi].”
The BJP had on May 21 hosted a mega dinner in The Ashok Hotel for its allies ahead of the Lok Sabha election results. At the dinner, attended by 36 allies, SDF leaders led by their president and former CM, Pawan Kumar Chamling, were also present.
“It is speculative as well to say that they (SKM) are as close or we are as close. I think it is for the BJP to decide that,” Rai added.
According to Rai, SDF had nothing to do with the joining of 10 of its MLAs to the BJP.
“We have engineered nothing. This is something which you should ask BJP as to how this all happened. From our side, all that we can say is that we are for the people of Sikkim, we will work for the people of Sikkim and from within Sikkim. As far as I am concerned, I am with the SDF,” Rai said.