Sikkim: Limboo Tamang Committee threatens statewide protest over seat reservation delay
Members of Limboo Tamang Voluntary Committee.

Gangtok: The Limboo Tamang Voluntary Committee, which has been advocating for Assembly seat reservations for their community for over a decade, has threatened a statewide protest if the state government does not secure the reservation before the 2024 elections

LTVC, led by Yehang Tshong as the president, held a press conference on Wednesday, criticising the ruling SKM government for its false promises, inadequate committees formed, and a lack of solutions during its four years in governance. He stated, “The Limboo-Tamang communities have not been allocated their rightful seat reservations in the Sikkim State Legislative Assembly by the two-faced SKM party, which has betrayed us. They made an election promise in 2019 to deliver LT seat reservations within 10 days of forming the government, but now 1550 days have passed.”

In 2002, tribal status was granted to two communities, sparking controversy over seat-sharing. The SDF party, during its tenure, created the Burman Commission and proposed increasing Sikkim Assembly seats from 32 to 40, with 5 reserved for the LT communities. This proposal was rejected by both LTVC and SKM, the opposition party at the time.

In contrast, LTVC argued that seat reservations should come from the existing 32 seats, asserting parity with the Bhutia Lepcha communities, who have 12 reserved seats.

SKM, despite promising a solution within 10 days before the 2019 election, failed to provide a seat reservation formula during their four years in power. They formed a committee led by Lok Sabha MP Indra Hang Subba, but LTVC claims the committee failed to submit a report despite multiple meetings.

Tshong further informed that LTVC demanded a report on SKM’s committee on the issue in 2022. However, the MP-led committee did not respond to their request. “So we filed an RTI report, but the response we received indicated that the SKM government had not submitted a new formula to the Central Government. They had merely sent a proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The matter is under process, with the Central Government stating that the issue is the prerogative of the state government.”

Yehang Tsong further stated, “Delimitation doesn’t fall under Article 371F, and the delimitation committee has provided guidance. For the 2026 delimitation, SKM opposed it when they were in opposition, and now they are taking the same stance. In fact, if the issue is addressed under Article 371F, Sikkim can have its own delimitation right now, resolving the LT seat reservation issue once and for all.”

LTVC further claimed, “The ruling front has only criticised the previous government’s formula. Even though we consider the 40-seat formula to be invalid, there is insufficient population and area to support 40 seats. Only SKM can deliver this,” said the MP and Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay in the past. The MP claimed that the government doesn’t have to wait for the 2026 delimitation to provide Assembly reservations. If this is their stance, then we demand 5 seats for the LT population before the 2024 elections.”

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Tshong further claimed that both SDF and now SKM have used the LT seat reservation issue as a political tool to attract LT voters before elections, which LTVC demands should not be made an issue in the 2024 elections.

Another LTVC member, BB Limboo, criticised Sikkim MP Indra Hang Subba, stating, “He is an MP for all Sikkimese people, not just a representative of the Limboo community. Despite that, he makes statements but fails to take action. He has never raised the LT seat reservation issue in the Indian Parliament. If he cannot speak on our people’s behalf, he doesn’t deserve to be our MP.”

Limboo added, “Indra Hang had advocated for five seats for the two communities out of the 32 seats, without waiting for the 2026 delimitation. From a promise of 10 days, it has been 1550 days according to SKM’s promise for LT seats. Either you resign or ensure seats are allocated within the next few months, or no one will believe you if you seek re-election. He promised a resolution within 3 months during SKM party committee meetings after the panchayat election, yet nothing has happened.”

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