Polling in Sikkim for Assembly elections underway | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Polling in Sikkim for Assembly elections underway

PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Gangtok
May 10, 2004 10:00 AM IST

People in large numbers, including Buddhist monks, arrived at the polling booths to exercise their franchise, an official said.

Polling began Monday in Sikkim for simultaneous elections to the 32-member state Assembly and a lone seat for the Lok Sabha .

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An elections official said people in large numbers, including Buddhist monks, arrived at the polling booths since early morning to exercise their franchise.

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"The mood is one of enthusiasm and we expect a large turnout of voters at the end of the day," the official said.

A total of 2,81,629 voters would decide the fate of 95 candidates in the fray for elections in this tiny Himalayan state, bordering China and Nepal. As in the past, the fight for political supremacy in Sikkim is between the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) and the opposition Congress party. The SDF is in power since the past 10-years bagging 25 of the 32 seats during the last Assembly elections in 1999.

The SDF has already taken an early lead much before polling started by winning four seats uncontested. Election authorities rejected nominations of three Congress candidates, while another Congress nominee did not turn up to file his nomination papers.

The lone SDF parliamentarian in the past had two terms had supported the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in New Delhi, although the ruling party in Sikkim this time had severed relations with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Sikkim is perhaps the only state where elections are always held in a very peaceful manner with no poll related incidents or violence reported in the past.

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