Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee (SPCC) president Nar Bahadur Bhandari on Saturday joined forces with the BJP in alleging that Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling has obtained dual citizenship, including one from Nepal, and claimed that the Congress party, if elected to power, will prosecute him under the provisions of the law.
"The Congress party, if it comes to power after the assembly polls due later this year, will arrest and prosecute Chamling for commission of a serious crime like carrying dual nationality," Bhandari, a former chief minister told reporters in Gangtok.
Echoing the BJP's contention against the incumbent Chief Minister as "factually true" on the basis of the relevant documents made public by the senior saffron party leader Harendra Pratap, Bhandari hoped that the Union Home ministry and the Election Commission will investigate the matter to its logical conclusion.
Bhandari expressed his consternation at the silence of Chamling after such a serious charge of dual nationality has been made against him and said the latter has lent credence to the allegation by keeping mum on the issue till date.
The senior Congress leader, however, made it clear that his party will not make the dual nationality charge againt Chamling an electoral issue during the forthcoming assembl polls due April/May this year.
There are many skeletons in the cupboards of the Chamling governemnt which the Congress will raise during electioneering seeking the mandate for a change of guard in Sikkim, he said. Referring to the upcoming assembly polls in Sikkim, the former Chief Minister demanded that the polls be held under the President's rule as a "free, fair and transparent election was not not likely to take place under the Chamling regime."
"No no assembly polls held in the Himalayan state since 1994 took place in a fair manner as the civil and police brass brazenly sided with the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front in ensuring successive mandate for the ruling party in 1999 and 2004 assembly polls," he alleged.
The former Chief Minister hoped that the Election Commission will take cognizance of the "electoral malpractices" committed by the SDF government in the past and make appropriate arrangement for conduct of a free, fair and transparent polls in Sikkim this time.
On the rumours doing the rounds in Sikkim that he was being considered for the Governor's post by the party high command, Bhandari vowed never to leave Sikkim for any assignment outside the state and admitted that Chamling had indeed tried to convince the top congress leaders to make him a Governor in view of his seniority.
"I will never make life easy for Chamling and stay put in Sikkim for public service," Bhandari said and pledged to form the first-ever full-fledged Congress government in the state after the assembly polls.