In a major political development, 13 out of 15 MLAs of former Chief Minister Pawan Chamling-led Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) will join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today. Pawan Chamling, the longest-serving Chief Minister of India, was in power till May this year. He ruled the state for almost 25 years.
The development comes days after a delegation of SDF legislators met BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav in the national capital.
Madhav, party national general secretary and in-charge for the Northeast, had shared a photo of the meeting and wrote, “Delighted to receive 9 legislators of the opposition SDF from Sikkim who came to extend support for BJP.”
The development comes as a big boost for the BJP which has been trying to make inroads in this North-eastern state by forging an alliance with Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) ahead of the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state. However, the alliance didn't last long and they contested the election separately.
There are 32 Assembly seats and the one Lok Sabha seat in the state. While SKM won 17 Assembly seats, the SDF won 15 seats. However, Pawan Chamling won from two seats which effectively reduced the number of elected party MLAs to 14.
In the 2014 Assembly election, the SKM had won 10 seats but seven of the legislators had defected to the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) in 2015.