GANGTOK, March 31 - A war of words has erupted between the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) and the opposition Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) over the �inordinate delay� in reserving Assembly seats for Limboo and Tamang (LT) communities, which form over 30 per cent of Sikkim�s population.
SDF supremo and Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling had asserted in 2014 that he would resign if the two communities were not allotted reserved seats before the 2019 Assembly polls, a commitment that has now come to haunt him, with the SKM posting a clipping of his statement, published in a newspaper, on the social media.
The LT communities, granted tribal status in 2002 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA Government, have long been seeking reservation in the 32-member House, in line with the Lepchas and the Bhutias.
Although there is no provision for seat reservation in the Sikkim Assembly for the scheduled tribes, the Lepchas and Bhutias have been granted 12 seats under Article 371(F) of the Constitution, which protects the rights of the local people.
A petition was moved in the Supreme Court by the tribal groups, seeking adequate representation in the Assembly. The apex court on January 4, 2016 directed the Home Ministry to take necessary action. Chamling, in his attempt to skirt the issue, alleged that the opposition parties have �misled the NDA Government� on the issue.
The SKM, however, pinned blame on the SDF, a member of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), claiming that the ruling party failed to live up to its promises. � PTI