New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party, which did not win any seat in the Sikkim Assembly election, has become the main opposition party after 10 of the 13 MLAs of the Sikkim Democratic Front — which ruled the northeastern state for 25 years — joined the saffron party on Tuesday.
BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav officially welcomed the MLAs, including Narendra Kumar Subba, Dilli Ram Thapa, Karma Sonam Lepcha, Pintso Namgyal Lepcha, Raj Kumari Thapa, Tashi Thendup Bhutia and Krishna Bahadur Rai, at the party headquarters here.
BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Working President J.P. Nadda had already given their nod for the MLAs’ entry into the party, Madhav said.
In the Assembly polls held along with the Lok Sabha polls in April, of the state’s total 32 seats, the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) won 17 seats and formed the government overthrowing the 25-year rule of the SDF, which bagged 15 seats.
Two of the SDF MLAs and one from SKM won from two seats and so, three seats fell vacant in the Assembly. Thus, the SDF was left with 13 members and SKM with 16.
Speaking to the media, Madhav said the SDF ruled Sikkim for 25 years and the BJP welcomed the MLAs.
“With 10 of the 13 MLAs joining the BJP, we will fulfil the responsibilities of a constructive opposition in Sikkim and strengthen the party’s base in the state,” Madhav said.
Local leader Dorjee Tshering Lepcha, who also joined the BJP, said that it is happening for the first time that so many MLAs in the state have changed parties.
“Sikkim is a small state with three international borders. We want BJP to win in Sikkim. The youths from the state are with the BJP. We want the BJP leaders should take reformative steps in Sikkim too like in rest of the country,” he said.