Gangtok: In a big blow to the Sikkim Democratic Front party, as 42 of their party cadres resigned, including former deputy speaker Sonam G. Lepcha, former minister Dawcho Lepcha, SDF spokesperson Prashant Babu Chettri and south district vice president Ganesh Rai.

The team, led by Ganesh Rai, who has been vocal against both the SDF party and SKM government since 2019 by-polls in Namchi, held a press conference today to declare that “they will be floating a political party in 2022 with an eye on 2024 elections.

“It is with a heavy heart that we are leaving SDF party as many reforms that we wished to usher within SDF since the 2019 electoral loss, along with the aspirations of Sikkimese people not being fulfilled by the current government, prompted us to resign from SDF party. We have quit the party with the intention of competing in the 2024 elections and we will be floating a party in 2022,” said Ganesh Rai.

Rai, asserted having served the SDF with sincerity, while also claiming, “many accusations will come, they will say that we betrayed the party, but this is more of an existential flexibility, as our devotion and responsibility lies with serving the people of Sikkim, which we were unable to fulfil with SDF.”

Rai admitted that “it is a crazy decision to leave an established party to make room for a new party but more and more people from SKM, SDF as well as general public will be joining us soon. Sikkim is eyeing at 50 years of democracy in 2024, which has only divided Sikkim and its people. Our direction will be for the next 50 years of how Sikkim should be.”

Rai slammed the SDF for falling short as an opposition party, claiming that they have never tried to be the face of a political party. “We have given in written at least on three occasions how SDF party ought to change but the same went unheard. Those saying that the party is all good are the ones still staying in the party.”

On being asked whether his outspoken statements against the SDF any action was initiated by the party, Rai claimed, “That you will have to ask to SDF party president but we were hopeful that a show-cause notice would be issued. Nothing of that sort happened, rather the former Chief Minister Pawan Chamling claimed to the media recently that he had no knowledge about our statements.”

Rai also countered how they are not the ‘B-team of SDF’ claiming that their party will be run by the people of Sikkim. They also denied siding with the SKM party, while expressing gratitude to every other political party for raising different issues of the State on their own. “We have not considered on an alliance as we are yet to float a party, our motto will also be revealed then.”

“We are not in the political field with vengeance against any party as has been a precedence in the 50 year history of Sikkim’s democracy. We do not want to sabotage any political party but promise of a healthy co-existence between each other,” they claimed.

Rai also asserted on bringing the Central Bureau of Investigation to Sikkim, claiming, “The investigation needs to be serious and not just for entertainment. The corruption claimed over the past 25 years is evident in the eyes of the people”. He also asserted on the Limboo Tamang seat reservation issue needing ‘strong political will’, claiming that Rai’s party would come up with solutions on the issue.

Ganesh Rai’s wife Tulsi Devi Rai also served as a Minister under SDF regime till 2019, on her resignation, Rai stated, “She has been unwell for the past 3 years and in the same period she has not renewed her membership with SDF which directly means she is not a member of SDF. She is with me in the current situation.”

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