Gangtok, Sept 13: In a significant political development, football legend and politician Bhaichung Bhutia joined Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party led by former chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling.
Bhaichung made the formal announcement on Wednesday, ending a week-long speculation of him joining Sikkim’s opposition party.
Bhaichung, who was serving as the working president of Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP), where he served as the face of the party since 2018, unsuccessfully contested the 2019 elections.
He, however, said, “There are still some leaders to meet and merger of two parties will not happen immediately, it will take time. I have not fixed a date to join SDF or merge yet, that will happen after thorough discussion.”
In earlier election, Bhaichung had supported ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) and even held meeting with current Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay in the run up to 2019 election.
“We were all in support of Parivartan promise made by Prem Singh Golay in 2019. We had tactically fielded candidates where the SKM had weaker candidates in constituencies. We wanted the Parivartan as much as SKM did. However, in these 4 years, the Parivartan has failed under Golay and SKM. They are now full of corrupt leaders and businessmen,” he said.
On being asked why not join Citizen Action Party or BJP, Bhaichung answered, “SDF perhaps is the only party that has spoken against Centre’s stand on Finance Bill 2023 which led to the dilution of Sikkimese identity and Article 371F. They are the only party to oppose the Centre currently, hence I preferred to join SDF. Citizen Action Party is not clear in their stand against the Centre pertaining to February’s Immigrant row where Sikkimese Nepali were termed as foreigners. They only criticized SKM government but not the Centre.”
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