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Sikkim shake-up before elections

The size of the electorate (2.79 lakhs) and Assembly (32 seats) is so small that even half-a-dozen MLAs can make or break a govt.
PTI | By Keshav Pradhan, Gangtok
PUBLISHED ON APR 15, 2004 01:26 PM IST

Sikkim seems set for another game of musical chairs with simultaneous Assembly and LS polls round the corner.

The size of the electorate (2.79 lakhs) and the Assembly (32 seats) is so small that even half-a-dozen legislators can make or break a government.

The first to switch allegiance was former CM Nar Bahadur Bhandari who abandoned the Sikkim Sangram Parishad (SSP) that he founded in 1984 to become the president of the Congress. This move made Sanchaman Limbu (who replaced him as CM in 1984) and ex-Congress president Namkha Gyalzen join Pawan Chamling's ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF).

CPM state committee member Norzang Lepcha has been rewarded with a SDF ticket after he crossed over.

Angry at not being nominated by the SDF, three leaders — D.B. Gurung, Sonam C. Lepcha and Sherhang Subba crossed over to the Congress. All parties may encounter more desertions by disgruntled caste and ethnic leaders in the coming days.

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