10 of his 13 MLAs desert Pawan Kumar Chamling, flock to BJP | India News


GANGTOK/ NEW DELHI: BJP made more gains in the northeast as 10 of 13 MLAs of Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) joined the saffron party on Tuesday, making it the main opposition in a state where it had failed to win a single seat in the recent assembly polls.
After the defections that left SDF chief Pawan Kumar Chamling with just three MLAs in his fold, the ten lawmakers met BJP working president J P Nadda and joined the party in the presence of its general secretary Ram Madhav, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in the region.
Madhav said the SDF had a strength of 13 MLAs and its legislature party decided to merge with the BJP. Two-third or more lawmakers of a party can change sides without violating the anti-defection law.
BJP will play the role of a constructive opposition in the state, Madhav said. Chamling-led SDF ruled the state of Sikkim for over 25 years before he lost power in the recent elections.
SDF won 15 seats while its rival Sikkim Krantikari Morcha won 17 in the 32-member assembly. Since two of the SDF MLAs had won from two seats, the party’s actual strength in the House was reduced to 13.
The 10 MLAs who joined BJP include former SDF ministers Dorjee Tshering Lepcha, Ugen Gyatso Bhutia and Narendra Kumar Subba. They had been camping in Delhi since the past several weeks and had met Ram Madhav a week ago Lepcha said they were impressed with the “look east” policy of the Modi government. “We want BJP to win in Sikkim. We want BJP leaders to take reformative steps in Sikkim like in rest of the country,” Lepcha said.
This is the first time that MLAs of a regional party in Sikkim joined a national party “en masse”, he said. SDF refused to comment on the developments.

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