Sikkim Elections: SKM and BJP to Contest Independently, No Pre-Poll Alliance

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SKM press
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The political dynamics in the Himalayan state have taken an intriguing turn with the announcement that the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will contest independently, foregoing any pre-poll alliance. This decision marks a departure from the electoral landscape witnessed in previous years and sets the stage for a potentially contentious and closely contested electoral battle in the region.

Sikkim, known for its picturesque landscapes and cultural richness, has been a unique political terrain characterized by the dominance of regional parties and a relatively small footprint of national parties. The SKM, founded in 2013, emerged as a formidable force in Sikkimese politics, dethroning the long-standing Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) in the 2019 assembly elections and forming the government under the leadership of Prem Singh Tamang, popularly known as P.S. Golay.

On the other hand, the BJP, buoyed by its national prominence and electoral successes in other parts of the country, has been actively seeking to expand its footprint in the Northeast, including Sikkim. The party’s efforts to make inroads in the region have been met with mixed results, with limited success in some states and challenges in others, owing to the region’s unique socio-cultural dynamics and entrenched regional identities.

The decision of the SKM and BJP to contest independently in the upcoming elections reflects their respective calculations and strategies in navigating Sikkim’s complex political landscape. For the SKM, which has been in power for the past few years, contesting independently allows it to consolidate its support base and project itself as the sole alternative to the incumbent SDF, which has been reeling from electoral setbacks and internal strife.

Similarly, for the BJP, contesting independently presents an opportunity to assert its identity and ideology in Sikkim without being perceived as a junior partner in a pre-poll alliance. The party’s decision to go solo underscores its confidence in its organizational strength and electoral prospects in the state, as it seeks to capitalize on the national narrative of development, nationalism, and Hindutva to appeal to Sikkimese voters.

However, the decision to contest independently also carries risks and uncertainties for both the SKM and BJP. In a state where regional identity and local issues often take precedence over national politics, the absence of a pre-poll alliance could potentially fragment the anti-incumbency vote and benefit the ruling SDF or other regional players. Moreover, given the BJP’s relatively limited base and organizational reach in Sikkim, contesting independently poses logistical and strategic challenges in terms of campaign mobilization and resource allocation.

Furthermore, the decision not to form a pre-poll alliance reflects the divergent priorities and agendas of the SKM and BJP, both of which may harbor aspirations of leading the next government in Sikkim. While the SKM seeks to consolidate its hold on power and further its development agenda, the BJP aims to expand its electoral footprint in the region and emerge as a credible alternative to the dominant regional parties.

The electoral landscape in Sikkim is further complicated by the emergence of new political players and the realignment of existing alliances. The SDF, despite its electoral setbacks, remains a potent force in Sikkimese politics and cannot be discounted in the upcoming elections. Additionally, smaller regional parties and independent candidates are likely to play a crucial role in shaping the electoral outcome, particularly in constituencies with significant ethnic or linguistic minorities.

In addition, the decision of the SKM and BJP to contest independently in the upcoming elections in Sikkim heralds a new chapter in the state’s political trajectory and sets the stage for a fiercely contested electoral battle. While the absence of a pre-poll alliance may pose challenges in terms of vote consolidation and strategic coordination, it also reflects the evolving dynamics of Sikkimese politics and the aspirations of both parties to assert their identity and influence in the region. As the electoral campaign unfolds, all eyes will be on Sikkim as it charts its course amidst the shifting sands of regional and national politics.

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