Tag Archives: sikkim democratic front

India Lok Sabha elections: Phase 4


After a huge third phase in which 91 constituencies of India’s election were decided on April 10, Saturday’s fourth phase of India’s general election is barely a trickle — just seven seats. India Flag Icon

It’s the last ‘miniature’ phase of the election — the next five phases, through May 12, will determine the remaining 432 (out of 543) seats of India’s Lok Sabha (लोक सभा).

The April 12 phase coincides with elections to determine Sikkim’s legislative assembly, and it will elect Sikkim’s sole representative to the Lok Sabha.

The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF, सिक्किम प्रजातान्त्रिक मोर्चा) dominates Sikkimese politics, and its chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, who has been in power since 1994, hopes to win a record fifth consecutive term in office. Though the SDF isn’t formally part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), it might be expected to back Narendra Modi and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP, भारतीय जनता पार्टी) if it has enough strength to form a government, as widely expected.

Where are the other six constituencies?

  • In Goa, another small state, notable for its pristine beach resorts and its Portuguese influence, will elect both of its representatives to the Lok Sabha. The BJP narrowly controls the state government, and the BJP and its national rival, the Indian National Congress (Congress, भारतीय राष्ट्रीय कांग्रेस) currently split Goa’s two Lok Sabha seats.
  • In Assam, the largest of the ‘seven sister states’ of India’s far northeastern corner, where 14 seats are up for grabs, three constituencies will vote on Saturday. Five of its constituencies held elections in India’s first phase.
  • Tripura, another northeastern state, which also elected one of its two representatives to the Lok Sabha in India’s first phase, will elect the second on Saturday.

Without offense to northeastern India, Goa or Sikkim, the fourth phase won’t determine the country’s next government.

The photo above shows a statute in the city of Namchi depicting Guru Rinpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim.

Chamling hopes to break record as India’s longest-serving chief minister


Sikkim is the least populous state in India, with just 610,577 residents.India Flag Icon

It’s also one of India’s more remote states, nudged in the Himalayan mountains with Chinese Tibet to its north, Nepal to its west and Bhutan to its east. Darjeeling, the town in West Bengal state known so well for the tea of the same name, lies just south of Sikkim. In the colonial period, in fact, Darjeeling was part of Sikkim.

But its state elections will take the spotlight briefly this weekend, when its chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling tries to win a fifth consecutive term — if he does, he could become the longest-serving chief minister in India’s history.*

Chamling leads the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF, सिक्किम प्रजातान्त्रिक मोर्चा), which is about as dominant a regional force as you’ll find in India. Not only does it hold Sikkim’s one seat in the national parliament, but it holds every single at in Sikkim’s 32-member legislative assembly.  Continue reading Chamling hopes to break record as India’s longest-serving chief minister