The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has registered their presence in Sikkim as 10 MLAs of Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) joined the BJP camp in New Delhi on Tuesday. The MLAs joined the saffron party fold in the presence of BJP working president JP Nadda and general secretary Ram Madhav, who is incharge of the party's affairs in the Northeast. Madhav told reporters that the SDF had a strength of 13 MLAs and its legislature party had decided to merge with the BJP. The BJP would play the role of a constructive Opposition in the State, Madhav added.
Two-thirds or more numbers of the MLAs of a party can join a new party without violating the anti-defection law.
The move comes as a warning sign for former Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, who is also the head of SDF and had backed the BJP until the Lok Sabha elections when it lost out to power in the state. The SDF ruled the state for over 25 years, making Chamling the longest-serving Chief Minister in the country but he lost power in the recent elections. With the recent blow, the SDF has been reduced to three seats in the 32-member assembly.
The SDF headed by Chamling ruled the state for 25 years, making him the longest-serving Chief Minister in the country. Under Chamling’s leadership, the party rose to power with a significant majority in successive assembly elections. However, Chamling could not convert his party’s highest vote share into the seats and lost the Chief Minister seat to SKM’s Prem Singh Tamang.
According to the Election Commission, the SDF had won 15 seats in the 32-member state assembly in the 2019 Sikkim assembly elections. The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) was at the pole position with 17 seats. Since two of the SDF MLAs had won from two seats, they resigned from one seat each, reducing its strength to 13. The Sikkim Democratic Front secured the highest vote share of 47.63 per cent, followed by Sikkim Krantikari Morcha’s 47.03 per cent. The BJP failed to get any seat and managed to secure only 1.62 per cent vote share.
Some Eminent personalities join BJP at BJP HQ. #BJPMembership https://t.co/n4wyk1gz01
- BJP (@BJP4India) August 13, 2019
SKM is already a partner of the BJP-led NDA, giving BJP a definite edge with 10 MLAs joining the party fold as the next assembly elections are five years away.
Sikkim has eluded BJP for long and it is the only state in Northeast India where the saffron party has not come to power. The BJP made headway in the Northeast and forged alliance with other parties in the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA). NEDA is a special alliance of regional parties formed by the BJP to improve its footprints in the Northeast states.