Sunday, Sep 17, 2023 07:00 [IST]
Last Update: Sunday, Sep 17, 2023 01:27 [IST]
GANGTOK,: A SDF delegation led by chief spokesperson MK Subba has submitted a representation on behalf of party president Pawan Chamling to the Election Commission of India (ECI) at their office in New Delhi.
The representation to ECI principal secretary Arbind Anand and secretary Santosh Kumar Dubey was related to the Parliamentary and Assembly elections scheduled in Sikkim in April-May next year.
A SDF release on Saturday states that the ECI first was appraised regarding the failure of governance in Sikkim in all aspects, especially in the law-and-order front, since the formation of the incumbent SKM government in 2019.
“The ECI was apprised of the actual ground realities existing presently in Sikkim where there is total failure of the State machineries which has created an atmosphere of insecurity and widespread fear among the general public. The ECI was further appraised that till date the SDF has submitted 50 plus memorandum to the Government of India, Governor of Sikkim, Chief Electoral Office, Sikkim, DGP Sikkim and chief secretary, Government of Sikkim regarding the prevailing situation of lawlessness to ensure safety and security to the people of Sikkim but surprisingly the government has failed to deliver any corrective measures to restore the rule of law in Sikkim,” the SDF release statements.
The SDF release mentions that the ECI was apprised that under the prevailing conditions in Sikkim the ensuing Parliamentary and State Assembly Election 2024 cannot be conducted freely and fairly in Sikkim. Thus, the SDF party submitted to the ECI to constitute a committee or impose any corrective measure by invoking Article 324 of the Constitution of India and to take cognizance of our submissions as follows to ensure free and fair elections in Sikkim in 2024, said the SDF.
In its representation, the SDF has also demanded an increase of polling booths from the existing 572 polling booths in 31 constituencies and 42 in the Sangha Assembly Constituency as the voting per percentage is very high in Sikkim and also there are simultaneous elections for Parliamentary and State Assembly Election. In fact, in every polling booth, one voter has to cast two separate votes for Parliamentary and State Assembly simultaneously in two different EVMs and VV PATS. Therefore, the SDF requested the ECI to take appropriate steps to restrict the number of voters to an average of 1000 voters and 1200 voters for rural and urban booths respectively, the release mentions.
“A request is also made to dispatch the Election Observer, especially, the law and order observers in advance to Sikkim. Furthermore, since Sikkim being a sensitive border State and to ensure free and fair election, the ECI was also requested to dispatch the central paramilitary forces to Sikkim to ensure the peace is maintained and the people are allowed to freely and without any form of intimidation/influence or threat be allowed to exercise their right to vote,” said the SDF.
“Lastly, in view of the deteriorating law and order situation in Sikkim, the SDF party requested the ECI to exercise its power under Article 324 of the Constitution to recommend the Central government to impose the President’s rule in the State of Sikkim prior to the said elections to see that the elections are held freely and fairly to uphold and protect the spirit of democracy fully. The ECI was also requested to send a high-level team to take stock of the ground realities prevailing in Sikkim to build up the confidence level amongst the general public to participate in the process of election freely,” said the SDF.
As per the SDF, the ECI gave a patient hearing to all the submissions made and assured that the issues raised by the party will be seriously taken into consideration and action. In the said meeting, the ECI also advised the SDF to follow such representations to the CEO, Sikkim and the concerned authorities at the State level as well, the release mentions.