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10 SDF MLAs join BJP in Sikkim

SDF MLAs joining the BJP in the presence of BJP working president JP Nadda and general secretary Ram Madhav on Tuesday. – Photo: A Correspondent
 GANGTOK, Aug 13 - The BJP received a shot in the arm in the Himalayan State of Sikkim as 10 out of 11 MLAs of the Pawan Chamling-led Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) joined the saffron party today. Significantly, former Chief Minister Chamling is the sole SDF MLA left in the Sikkim Assembly now.

The 10 MLAs joined the saffron party this afternoon in the presence of BJP working president Jagat Prakash Nadda and general secretary Ram Madhav.

The political circles had been abuzz with murmurs of the SDF MLAs joining the BJP since the results of the recent Assembly polls were declared. The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), which got a slim majority in the elections, formed a new Government after 25 years of rule of the Pawan Chamling-led Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF).

Interestingly, the decision to merge with the national party is being seen as a “master plan” of Chamling himself to gain fresh political mileage. Earlier, Chamling had supported the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre from outside till he lost power this year.

“We want the Lotus to bloom in Sikkim,” said MLA and former minister DT Lepcha, adding that the latest development would usher in peace and welfare to the State. “We have to join the mainstream of development,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the State BJP president held at a press conference here to welcome the 10 SDF MLAs to the party fold. He said that the BJP would perform the role of the main Opposition in Sikkim. He stressed that the BJP stands for peace and development of Sikkim.

On the possibility of more defections to the BJP from other parties, the State BJP chief said that the party is open to anyone joining its fold.

The 32-member Sikkim Assembly now has 16 SKM MLAs, 10 BJP legislators, one SDF MLA and two MLAs of a faction called ‘SDF 2’. With three seats lying vacant, the forthcoming by-polls may throw up interesting possibilities. With the BJP now all set to take on the role of the main Opposition, the SKM Government in the State may have to work overtime to hold on to its slender majority.

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