Gangtok: The widespread resentment against opposition Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) MLAs defecting to other parties came out on the streets during a protest rally by local residents demanding resignation of the legislators.
The protest rally, initiated by Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum (SPYF) and joined by youths, political leaders and social activists, termed the mass joining of SDF MLAs in BJP as a treachery. They further expressed that the elected legislators took the public mandate for granted and feared that such acts would destabilise democratically elected governments.
The SPYF members protested under the banner of Citizen’s Forum of Sikkim from Amdo Golai, Tadong to East District Administrative Centre, Sichey along the Indira Bypass road on Sunday despite uncertainty over permission. The activists were joined by politicians, state Congress president Bharat Basnett, socio-political activist Passang Sherpa and Nawin Kiran Pradhan, a petitioner of the 2017 anti-defection case against seven former SKM MLAs.
SPYF member Rupen Karki, who has been spearheading the movement along with other members, said, “Whenever these politicians seek votes, they give promises of development. Now with their defection, it is the people who have lost. The politicians are playing games and there is mass doubt whether the voted leader will stick to the party or not. Not respecting the people’s mandate they have defected, which should be condemned.”
The forum asserted that they are not against any specific party but in favour of true essence of democracy and the respect for the mandate of the people. “Any party can come to power, but has to be chosen by the people. In the recent election, the BJP got merely got 1.62% of votes but now the same has increased to 31% after the joining of 10 SDF MLAs, which we do not agree. If someone wants to go to their party, they must have fought the election on the party ticket. If defection is allowed, then the election process must happen through tender,” the members said.
The forum also accused the politicians of playing with the sentiments of the people with defection, wherein they stated, “In villages during the time of election, there are fights between neighbours and relatives, but leaders are playing with the sentiments of the people. People and their choices are being looked down upon.”
Calling for a unity of the people, SPYF highlighted how it was through people’s movement democracy was brought to the state and monarchy was overthrown. “If the people decide then anything can happen. The people didn’t want the defection of 12 legislators that is the reason there is a protest. This protest will not end today it will not end until the defectors resign,” the members added.