March 30 2021, Sikkim: The people of Sikkim will be voting in a nonpartisan election after nearly three decades. This is possible due to the change implemented last year in the Sikkim Municipalities Act, 2007 by the current government under the leadership of Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang.
The main objective for bringing back the partyless Municipal/ Panchayat election was to remove fear from the minds of people, thereby opening the gate for good, clean, and educated people becoming an active part of the political system.
In 2020, the Sikkim KrantikariMorcha Government under the leadership of the Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) amended the Sikkim Municipalities Act,2007. He abolished the party based Municipal Elections ensuring that people can go and vote without the fear of being harassed.
This has also left a positive impact on the number of people contesting elections, especially the women contestants.In Sikkim, 50% seats in civic/panchayat bodies are reserved for women. Yet this year, unlike previous elections, a new trend is emerging. Many women candidates are contesting from seats which are not reserved for them.
Speaking about the act, Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) said, “In a democracy, people should not be afraid of the government instead consider themselves as part of it.This non-partisan election was one of the major promises that Sikkim Krantikari Morcha Government had made to the people of the state in its election manifesto. And we are proud that we were able to keep it.With this change we hope that more individuals would consider joining and building the state together.” He further added that he is delighted to see such a promising response, especially from the women of the state.
In 1994, when the Pawan Chamling Government came to power, they introduced party-based elections for Panchayat and Civic Bodies. This was a drastic change from the non- partisan based elections that the people were used to and seemed to prefer.
This caused distress among the people of Sikkim as they had no choice but to vote for the members of the ruling party. Taking advantage of being a small state with a low population, the ruling party, during every Panchayat or Municipal Election, would intimidate, put political pressure, and influence the people to vote for them. Fearing political vendetta and victimization, the general public had become helpless.
Thus, the amendment to the act, Sikkim Municipalities Act, 2007, has seemed to have brought a much-needed relief from the distress that plagued the people. The gratitude of the public is evident in the high number of electoral contestants from different walks of life. The Panchayat and Civic Body election this year would act as a fresh start of the people of Sikkim.