Local vs outsider issue echoes in Sikkim Panchayat polls

The panchayat polls will be held on November 3 for 500 gram panchayat seats and 84 zilla panchayat seats. The polls are being fought on party lines.

PTI| Updated: Oct 28, 2017, 17:32 PM IST

Gangtok: Panchayat polls in Sikkim is generating heat this time with the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) raking up 'local vs outsider' issue to mobilise public support.

Addressing a series of public meetings in West and South districts, Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, who is also the founding president of the SDF, raked up the 'local vs outsider' issue warning the people of Sikkim to guard against the political party doing 'politics of religion' which is trying hard to gain foothold in the state.

"You people must remain on guard with a political party which practices 'politics of religion' and is trying to gain foothold in Sikkim by advancing its divisive political agendas," he said at a public meeting in South district on Friday.

The BJP has hit back at the SDF reminding it that the Himalayan state had voluntarily merged with India way back in 1975 and every political party has right to contest elections in the state.

The 67 year-old Chamling alleged that the 'old laws' of the state will be repealed if a party from 'outside' ever forms government in the state.

The chief minister's hard-hitting attack on the BJP without taking its name comes weeks after Ram Madhav had attacked Chamling by charging him with running a corrupt and dictatorial government in Sikkim.

During his visit to Sikkim two weeks ago, Madhav, the BJP's Jammu and Kashmir and North-East in-charge, had described Chamling's party as "Sikkim Dictatorial Front" and stressed on the need for unity of the opposition forces to unseat the SDF government in next elections and form a government which can usher in development and rid the state of corruption.

BJP Sikkim unit president DB Chauhan reminded the Chief Minister that Sikkim was an integral part of India since its merger with the Union of India in 1975.

"It does not behove well of a senior leader like Chamling, who occupies a constitutional post, to raise local vs outsider issue," Chauhan said and charged the SDF supremo with presiding over a "corrupt" government in Sikkim.

The Sikkim BJP president alleged that the Chief Minister was trying to endanger security of India by instilling a sense of fear in the people of Sikkim by raising local vs outsider issue.

The panchayat polls will be held on November 3 for 500 gram panchayat seats and 84 zilla panchayat seats. The polls are being fought on party lines.

The ruling SDF has already won 536 gram panchayat seats and 27 zilla panchayat seats unopposed.