Relief for Sikkim C.M. as ECI reduces his disqualification period

Published : September 30, 2019 18:53 IST

Prem Singh Golay in Gangtok after he took charge as Chief Minister in May. Photo: AFP

In a dramatic development, Sikkim’s Chief Minister, Prem Singh Golay, was able to file his nomination at the very last moment to contest in the upcoming byelection on October 21. After months of uncertainty following questions relating to Golay’s eligibility to contest an election after being convicted in a corruption case, the Election Commission of India, on September 29, reduced his disqualification period from six years to one year and one month.

The ECI’s reduction of the disqualification period allowed Golay to be eligible for the upcoming byelection, as under the revised rule his punishment period ended on September 10 this year. He was sentenced to one-year imprisonment in 2017, which ended on August 10, 2018. The ECI’s decision also came in the nick of time as the last date for filing nominations for the byelection from the Poklok-Kamrang Assembly seat was September 30.

Earlier this year, Golay’s Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) narrowly defeated the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), which had ruled the State for 25 years. Golay, however, could not contest the election. Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Pawan Chamling’s SDF, which had secured 15 out of the 32 seats in the State Assembly, lost its status as the main opposition in the state after 10 of its MLAs defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in August.

On September 28, the BJP and the SKM arrived at an electoral understanding for the byelections to the three constituencies of Poklok-Kamrang, Gangtok and Martam-Rumtek. The SKM will contest only from Poklok-Kamrang in South Sikkim, leaving the other two seats for the BJP to contest.

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