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SDF defends decision not to contest Sangha seat

The SDF has said its decision not to contest the seat in polls was in keeping with the party's policy of not mixing religion with politics.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Gangtok
PUBLISHED ON APR 16, 2004 07:10 PM IST

The Sikkim Democratic Front has said its decision not to contest the lone Sangha seat in the state in the forthcoming assembly polls was in keeping with the party's policy of not mixing religion with politics.

The SDF's announcement it would not field a nominee for the Sangha seat last week had invited criticism of the main opposition Congress whose president Nar Bahadur Bhandari recently described it as a 'deliberate move' by the party to 'do away with the Sangha seat completely'.

The Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC), a non-political ally of the Congress, had also criticised the decision saying it showed the SDF's disregard for the Sangha.

The Chief Minister and SDF president Pawan Chamling, however, denied this at a press conference here recently saying the decision was in adherence to the party's policy of not mixing religion with politics to keep the sanctity of the religious institutions intact.

He said the party will support anyone elected by the monk body to represent the seat in the state assembly.

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