Assembly election 2019: Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh await results; counting today
In Sikkim, the prominent candidates are Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) president and chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, who is seeking a record eighth successive term as an MLA. Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) working president and former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia has entered into the fray from two assembly seats as well.
The verdict for 32 Assembly seats in Sikkim and 57 out of 60 Assembly seats in Arunachal Pradesh will be announced today with the counting set to begin at 8 AM. In Sikkim, the prominent candidates are Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) president and chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, who is seeking a record eighth successive term as an MLA. Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) working president and former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia has entered into the fray from two assembly seats as well, including Gangtok, reserved seat for the indigenous Bhutia-Lepcha communities. Of the 567 polling stations in Sikkim, 120 were identified as critical polling stations and were manned by the Centre Para Military forces.
In Arunachal Pradesh, a total of over 7 lakh voters exercised their franchise for 2019 Assembly election. Altogether 181 candidates including 11 women are in the fray for 57 assembly constituencies out of total 60 seats in the state. The BJP has fielded candidates in 57 Assembly seats while Congress is contesting in 46 seats, the NPP in 30 seats, JDU in 15 constituencies, JDS (12), PPA (9) and one from the All India Party (AIP). There are also 11 Independent in the fray for the Assembly polls in the state. The state had 281 vulnerable polling booths and 662 critical polling stations where security personnel were deployed. For the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) was used along with electronic voting machines in all the polling stations. Interestingly, the ruling BJP had already opened its account in the assembly poll by winning three seats unopposed.
Some of the key contenders are Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, his younger brother Rup Narayan Chamling and HSP working president and former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia. Chamling is contesting from two Assembly seats – Poklok–Kamrang and Namchi Singhithang from South Sikkim. Bhutia has also entered the fray from two seats - Gangtok (BL) and Tumen Lingi.
The main contest is between Chamling's SDF and Sikkim Kranti Morcha (SKM) led by PS Golay. The BJP has stitched an alliance with SKM to contest the election in the state. In 2014 Assembly elections, SDF won 22 seats to form the government. The SKM ended at second place after winning only 10 seats.
In Arunachal Pradesh, the key parties are BJP, Congress, and Conrad Sangma led National People’s Party (NPP), People’ party of Arunachal Pradesh (PPA) and Janata Dal (Secular). Incumbent CM BJP's Pema Khandu is contesting the elections from the Mukto Vidhan Sabha constituency. Former chief minister Gegong Apang, who recently quit BJP, is fighting on Janata Dal (Secular) ticket. Congress' Ninong Ering who is the sitting Member of Parliament (MP) from Arunachal east is contesting Assembly elections from Pasighat west seat.