Monday, October 01, 2007

Last date for Sikkim Panchayat polls today

Gangtok, Sept. 30: As the filing of nominations for panchayat polls ends at 4pm tomorrow, the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) is way ahead in the number of candidates.
The hill state will go to polls for 888 seats in 161 gram panchayats on October 26. Simultaneous elections will also be held for 93 zilla panchayat seats in the four districts. The scrutiny of forms will be done on October 3, while the last date for withdrawal of candidature is October 5.
According to election officials, more than 300 nominations have been received by the state election commission so far. Today being a Sunday, no official procedure took place leaving only one day for the Opposition to file nominations.
Of the nominations filed till September 29 in East district for 27 zilla panchayat seats, there are 47 candidates from the SDF, three from the Congress and 16 Independents. According to the district collector (East), who is also the returning officer, till yesterday evening SDF candidates filed 221 nominations for the panchayat wards in East district while the Congress came up with candidates for six wards. The Sikkim Gorkha Prajatantrik Party, a regional outfit, is also contesting one seat.
In the North district till Saturday, 23 nominations had been filed by the SDF, while there were 50 nominations from independent candidates. In West district there were just 3 nominations from independent candidates. According to South district sources, 41 nominations were filed by the SDF and eight nominations have come in from independent candidates.
Independent candidates have emerged as the strongest challenge to the SDF in rural seats.
Nominations from opposition parties seem to be drawing a complete blank with hardly a few nominations filed with the returning officers.
The state units of the BJP and the CPM are yet to make their presence felt as far as the rural polls are concerned.
The entire election process is supposed to be completed by November 8.