The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday emerged the principal Opposition party in the Sikkim legislative Assembly after 10 legislators of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), led by former chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, joined the BJP.
The SDF MLAs met BJP Working President J P Nadda and joined the party in the presence of its General Secretary Ram Madhav, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in the Northeast.
The MLAs — 10 of the 13 — who joined the BJP include five-term MLA Dorjee Tshering Lepcha, who served as a minister in the Chamling government for three terms, and three-term MLA Ugen Gyatso.
Lepcha said they were impressed with the Look East policy of the Narendra Modi government. “We want lotus to bloom in Sikkim,” he said, referring to the BJP’s election symbol. The party’s immediate challenge in the state will be the by-elections to three seats.
The BJP had failed to win a single seat in the Sikkim Assembly polls, held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections, and secured an abysmal 1.62 per cent of the votes polled.