Gangtok, Oct 24 (IANS) Sikkim Chief Minister and Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) candidate Prem Singh Tamang alias P.S. Golay swept to victory in the Poklok-Kaamrang constituency with a huge margin while BJP nominees won from Martam-Rumtek and Gangtok on Thursday in the assembly bypolls vote count in the Himalyan state.
Golay trounced Sikkim Democratic Front candidate Moses Rai by 8,953 votes in a triangular contest. Rai and the other candidate Yadhu Kumar Rai of Sikkim Republican Party lost their deposits. The elections were crucial for Golay, who had to win to continue as the Chief Minister.
In Martam-Rumtek, Sonam Tshering Venchungpa of BJP got the better of SDF’s Nuk Tshering Bhutia by 6,150 votes.
The Gangtok seat also went to the BJP, whose candidate Yong Tshering Lepcha defeated Delay Namgyal Barfungpa of Sikkim National People’s Party by 1,010 votes,
Apart from Lepcha and Barfungpa, all other contestants, including former Indian football captain and Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) working president Bhaichung Bhutia and Rinzing Ongmu Bhutia of SDF lost their deposits.
In the April assembly polls, the SDF had bagged Poklok-Kaamrang and Martam-Rumtek, while Gangtok was won by SKM. The by-polls had to be held as the sitting legislators put in their papers, each having won from another seat.
The BJP and SKM had contested the bypolls by entering into a seat adjustment. While the saffron party fielded candidates in two seats, it backed Sikkim Krantikari Morcha president Golay in Poklong- Kaamrang.
This is the first time the BJP has won an assembly contest in Sikkim where it got only 1.62 per cent votes in the April polls. However, it had opened its account in the legislature in August, when 10 SDF MLAs joined its fold.
In the 32-member Sikkim assembly, the ruling SKM now has 19 legislators, followed by BJP (12) and SDF (1).
The April assembly polls saw the SKM coming to power with 17 seats, two more than SDF, whose long rule lasted about 24 years and six months.
Two SDF MLAs had crossed over to SKM in August.