Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wider contests this time, and Tadong continues to attract the widest contests

Municipal Elections 2015

Subash Rai

After the final date of withdrawal of nominations on Saturday, 19 September, it is now confirmed that a total of 107 candidates will be battling for 42 seats of the upcoming urban body elections 2015. Out of total 53 seats, the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front has already registered uncontested wins in 11 wards including all five seats of Mangan Nagar Panchayat, five out of seven in Gyalshing Municipal Council and one seat out of the total seven in Namchi Municipal Council.


While this is good news for SDF, the scenario this time is very different from the April 2010 municipal elections when the party had a clean sweep with almost all the wards won uncontested.  Out of total 47 seats at that time, the party had won 44 uncontested. SDF had to contest only three wards viz. Tadong and Burtuk wards of Gangtok Municipal Corporation and Rangpo Upper Bazar seat of Rangpo Nagar Panchayat. Later, it registered comfortable wins in these wards keeping its hold in all the urban bodies.
This time, for 42 seats, the SDF has to face challenge from 54 candidates including 42 of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, three from Bharatiya Janata Party and nine Independents. Like in the 2010 municipal elections, the ruling party will fight its widest battles in GMC’s Tadong area, two wards of which have the highest number of candidates in the fray at five each.
In the Tadong ward, the SDF has to face not just the SKM candidate but also three Independent candidates. In the same ward in the 2010 elections, the party had to fight off two independent candidates. Attached to the Tadong ward is the Daragaon ward which incidentally also has the same number of candidates in the contest; one each from SDF, SKM, BJP and two Independents.  
These two wards have voter strengths of 4,095 and 3,745 respectively. Both the wards fall under Upper Tadong Assembly constituency of East District.
The number of candidates in these two wards has also surprised voters.
Vivek Rai of Tadong ward, who had contested the 2010 elections as Independent candidate and is supporting the SDF candidate this time believes that some candidates and their supporters believe that the SDF candidate is not a ‘son of the soil’. Others are from the ruling party who could not get the party ticket and there are also those who are unhappy with the manner in which the delimitation and reservation was worked out, he opines.
It may be mentioned that in the 2010 municipal elections, in Tadong ward, the voter turnout was 61% and the total number of votes cast was 1821. SDF got 1,213 votes, Independent-I got 473 votes and Independent-II got 135 votes. Since then, this segment has elected an SKM MLA and this time, there is an SKM candidate in the mix as well. It will be interesting to see how that influences the voters.


                                                                          RANGPO NAGAR PANCHAYAT


                                                                          JORETHANG MUNICIPAL COUNCIL


                                                                         MANGAN NAGAR PANCHAYAT

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