Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Independents Panchayats on SDF trail

Gangtok, Oct. 29: The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) has swept the panchayat polls in the state with a 90 per cent majority.
The party had already won roughly 66 per cent of the seats in the two tiers uncontested.
However, Independent candidates have dented some SDF bastions, claiming 84 gram panchayat seats (out of the 305 where voting was held) and seven zilla panchayat ones (out of 47).
Though it pales in comparison to SDF’s haul of 220 and 40 seats respectively (leaving aside the uncontested ones), the Independents have done well in some significant areas.
For example in South district, considered to be SDF’s home turf, three of the 13 zilla panchayat seats have gone to Independents, including Lingmo-Mangzing, which is adjacent to Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling’s ancestral village, and Wak-Omchu, which is close to Chamling’s own constituency.
An Independent candidate has won the Kabi-Tingda zilla panchayat seat in North Sikkim. The constituency sits between Gangtok and the rest of the North district.
Independents have also captured three gram panchayat seats in Dzongu in North Sikkim.
Observers believe the SDF’s poor showing there may have resulted from the controversy over the hydel power projects.
The Congress managed to win only one gram panchayat seat in the polls.
Eighty per cent polling was recorded in the state with the highest (85 per cent) in North Sikkim.