Monday, September 14, 2015

Opposition Forum thumbs down State Election Commission… again


The United Forum for Democracy in Sikkim, an alliance of five opposition parties formed recently, has rejected the State Election Commission as a “rubber stamp” of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front, alleging that the SEC was working on the directions of ruling party even at the cost of subverting prescribed procedures and established norms. A three and a half hour long meeting between representatives of the Forum and the State Election Commissioner to discuss municipal election related issues flagged by the group only reinforced the suspicions harboured by the opposition parties.
The UFDS submitted a memorandum to the State Election Commissioner demanding restoration of Bhutia-Lepcha seats in local urban bodies and restoration of seats for state list Other Backward Classes to 20% [as in the last municipal elections] from the 18% that has been reserved for the category this time.
Speaking to media persons after the meeting, SNPP’s Biraj Adhikari told media-persons that the UDFS had reached the election commission office to gherao it and was then invited to discuss the issues. No satisfactory replies were forthcoming from the Commission, he said.
“We felt that the commission is even not fully and mentally prepared as to what answer has to be given,” Mr. Adhikari contended.
On the BL seats issue, the State Election Commission explained to the group that there was no provision for such reservation in the Sikkim Municipalities Act, 2007. Seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes includes all scheduled tribes of the state of Sikkim, the forum was informed.
With regards to the 2% reduction in the number of seats reserved for State List OBC, the State Election Commissioner’s office explained that the allocation of seats has been examined as per guidelines laid down under the Section 15 of the Sikkim Municipalities Act, 2007.

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