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Bhaichung Bhutia accuses SKM of bringing ‘fake voters’ to win election

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Gangtok, Feb 7: Bhaichung Bhutia, the vice president of Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party, has made sensational accusation against the incumbent Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay of bringing fake voters from outside of the State to win elections.

In 2019, when Bhutia was with Hamro Sikkim Party, which supported SKM (Sikkim Krantikari Morcha), he said his party had to pay for many hotels bills where these fake voters were residing. He cited these fake voters as the major factor for SKM winning the 2019 state assembly elections. And similar is the case in the run-up to the 2024 elections.

The former Indian football captain turned politician on Wednesday, said, “In 2019, when we (Hamro Sikkim Party) were supporting SKM, they brought voters from outside the state. The very first day when Golay got out of jail, the gathering had many such fake voters. We paid for many hotel bills ourselves in 2019 when we were supporting SKM. In 2024, 28,000 voters have increased. They are hiring voters from outside Sikkim this time as well. Golay would be the ‘Chief Minister of Greater Sikkim’ (inclusive of Darjeeling hills)”.

Elections for 32-member Sikkim Legislative Assembly are scheduled to be held on or before April 2024. The tenure of Sikkim Legislative Assembly is scheduled to end on June 2, 2024. The previous assembly elections were held in April 2019, which was won by Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) with Prem Singh Tamang becoming the Chief Minister

Bhutia, however, said the SDF will ensure that voters without Residential Certificates or Certificate of Identification will not be enrolled in the voter list.

Bhutia criticized SKM’s electoral prospects, diminishing their actual vote count to 50,000 and casting doubt on Golay’s eligibility in the face of a pending Supreme Court case. He suggested that Golay’s legitimacy rested on the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), claiming that SKM might need to concede seats to the BJP for Golay to contest in 2024.

Urging SKM to sever ties with BJP in the upcoming elections, Bhutia highlighted the internal divisions within BJP, alleging that 12 MLAs sided with SKM while calling for a break from the faction not aligned with Sikkimese interests.

“The way Rajya Sabha MP was selected from BJP, SKM will have to sacrifice seats for Golay. It is known SKM had Kunga Nima Lepcha (Education Minister) as their candidate, they had to let BJP MLA DT Lepcha to be the new Rajya Sabha MP,” he mentioned.

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