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Sikkim CM files nomination a day after his disqualification


Press Trust of India Gangtok
A day after the EC reduced Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang's disqualification period by almost five years, the SKM president on Monday filed his nomination paper for an Assembly seat by-poll to be held on October 21.
Monday is the last day to submit nomination papers.
The chief minister, who is not a member of the Sikkim Assembly at present, submitted his papers as the SKM candidate from Poklok Kamrang seat in South Sikkim, District Magistrate- cum-Returning Officer Ragul K said.
Tamang is among the candidates for three assembly seats in Sikkim which goes to by-polls on October 21.
The BJP, which drew a blank in the Sikkim Assembly elections earlier this year, had on Saturday announced that it has tied up with the ruling SKM in the state for the October 21 by-polls to three Assembly seats.
The Election Commission on Sunday reduced Tamang's disqualification period by almost five years under a provision of the electoral law, paving the way for him to contest the state assembly elections.
His disqualification period of six years, during which he was barred from contesting polls, began on August 10, 2018 -- the day he completed a year's jail term in a corruption case. It was to end on August 10, 2024. But the EC reduced it to one year and one month.
Tamang, whose Sikkim Krantikari Morcha Party (SKM) won the state Assembly elections held in April, took over as the chief minister on May 27. However, he could not contest the elections due to the disqualification.
He has to contest assembly polls within six months of becoming the chief minister to hold the office.
Tamang was found guilty of misappropriation of government funds in a cow distribution scheme while he was the minister of animal husbandry in the 1990s.
The Congress on Monday alleged in New Delhi that the EC's reducing of Tamang's disqualification period by almost five years gives the "clear message" that one is immunised from the law if that person sings praises for the government.
Besides Tamang, 17 others including one more SKM leader, also filed their nomination papers from Poklok Kamrang assembly constituency on Monday.
In the two other by-polls, eight candidates filed nomination for Martam Rumtek assembly seat in East Sikkim, while six others submitted papers for Gangtok assembly seat.
Former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia is contesting from Gangtok as a candidate of the Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP).
Martam Rumtek and Gangtok assembly seats are reserved for the indigenous tribal communities - Bhutia and Lepcha - while Poklok Kamrang is a general seat.
The by-polls were necessitated as former chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling (SDF), legislators D T Lepcha (earlier with SDF and now in BJP) and Kunga Nima Lepcha (SKM) had vacated Poklok Kamrang, Martam Rumtek and Gangtok seats respectively after winning from two seats each.
According to the SKM-BJP tie-up, the saffron party will contest from Gangtok and Martam-Rumtek, while the ruling party will field its candidate from Poklok-Kamrang.

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First Published: Sep 30 2019 | 8:30 PM IST

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