Friday, September 11, 2015

Oppn parties unite; SKM to contest municipal polls under protest


Opposition parties of the State today formalized ‘United Forum for Democracy in Sikkim’ [UFDS], a coalition which they state will collaborate on issues of importance to Sikkim. The Forum is made up of the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee, Bharatiya Janta Party, Sikkim National People’s Party and Sikkim Sangram Parishad.
What brought the parties together was what they see as the State Election Commission’s unilateral decision on how the municipal elections are to be conducted in Sikkim, a move, which all five parties believe, went in favour of the Sikkim Democratic Front since it disallowed due consultation. The Forum is also opposed to the reservation pattern and formula adopted by the State Election Commission and is especially peeved with the umbrella seat reservation for Scheduled Tribes instead of separate Bhutia-Lepcha seats.
Addressing a joint press conference here today, representatives of the five parties unanimously thumbed down the State Election Commission’s attitude and demanded the restoration of separate BL seats even as they welcomed seat reservation for Schedule Tribes. During the last municipal elections, ST seats were segregated between BLs and LTs.
“If the state government can have reservation for central and state OBCs, then why have they not made similar provisions to Bhutia-Lepcha community?” argued the SKM president PS Tamang [Golay], who underlined that the Forum was aimed at protesting  in one voice against such violations.
He went on to announce that his party will be contesting the upcoming elections but would be doing so “under protest”.
He also lashed out against the 2% reduction noticed in the seats reserved for the State OBC community compared to the last elections and said that this was another denial that the State Election Commission should be held answerable for.
“We will not accept the patterns of reservation and notification issued by Department of Urban Development and Housing,” Golay said and other political leaders echoed the voice with Mr. Tamang.
Their protest will not remain in the paper and to Raj Bhawan, Mr. Tamang said, adding that the Forum will take this issue to the streets.
Meanwhille, a delegation of Bhutia Lepcha Protection Force today met the Governor at Raj Bhavan and submitted him a Memorandum requesting for his personal intervention to ensure seat reservation for BL community in the municipal elections.

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