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Two SDF MLAs defy party line, attend budget session

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Press Trust of India Gangtok
In a jolt to the opposition Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), two of its MLAs attended the assembly proceeedings defying party lines on Tuesday, the second day of the ongoing budget session in defiance of the party line.
SDF MLAs G T Dhungel and Em Prasad Sharma, who represent Upper Tandong and Namcheybong constituencies of East District, attended the house and participated in the assembly proceedings much to the surprise of everyone.
The 11 other SDF MLAs, including the Leader of Opposition Pawan Kumar Chamling stayed away from the house on the second day of the budget session.
The two opposition leaders garlanded Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, who heads the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha(SKM) government, in the house fuelling speculations.
They also requested Speaker L B Das to arrange separate sitting arrangements for them as 'SDF - 2'.
The SDF MLAs' move is being seen as a precursor of the split in the party.
Speaking to reporters later, they questioned the SDF leadership's decision to boycott the assembly proceedings and said that the people of Sikkim have elected them to discharge their duties as lawmakers.
"We have been elected by the people to speak for them and the issues related to our constituencies and the state," the two SDF legislators said.
SDF spokesperson Avinash Yakha claimed that the party was aware of the development and has taken note of its two legislators attending the budget session in defiance of the party line.
The SDF legislature party has decided to boycott the house till Tamang continues to occupy the post in 'breach of the Constitution'.
It claimed that Tamang is ineligible to occupy any constitutional office after being convicted to one year's imprisonment in a corruption case two years ago.
Tamang had on Monday requested the Election Commission to waive his disqualification from contesting polls.
Tamang cannot contest elections because of the conviction and stands disqualified but he has to contest assembly polls within six months of becoming the chief minister to continue in office.

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First Published: Jul 30 2019 | 6:55 PM IST

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