Friday, October 26, 2007

Panchayat Elections Today in Sikkim

Gangtok, Oct. 25: Elections for rural bodies across Sikkim will be held tomorrow. Campaigning for candidates came to an end yesterday evening.
The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) has already won 585 of the 889 village panchayat seats (66 per cent) for lack of Opposition candidates. The ruling party has also won 46 of the 93 zilla panchayat seats uncontested.
All eyes are now on how the other political parties and independent candidates fare in the remaining 304 village panchayat seats and 47 zilla panchayat seats.
Independent candidates pose the most substantial challenge to the SDF in the remaining seats as opposition political parties like the Congress, CPM and the Sikkim Gorkha Democratic Party have only been able to register only token participation in the rural body elections.
According to the state election commission, 3,144 polling officials and 1,048 police personal have been posted in the 524 polling stations spread across the state. There are 717 candidates in the fray for the 304 village panchayat seats and 124 candidates for the 47 zilla panchayat seats. Casting of votes will begin from 8am tomorrow and will end by 4pm, election officials said. The counting will take place on October 29.
This is the first time panchayat elections are being held in the hill state using electronic voting machines.