Gangtok, March 18: Amidst the state’s external lockdown, a rumour regarding Dr M. K. Sharma missing from action has been doing the rounds online. MLA of Khamdong-Singtam and Health Minister Dr M.K. Sharma absence in various stakeholders meet to fight COVID-19, triggering many Facebook posts concerning the Health Minister going missing circulating on Tuesday. The ongoing political rumour right now is that Dr M.K. Sharma along with some legislators are in Delhi meeting BJP functionaries which have been speculated could invite some political turmoil in-state.
“Everyone is asking where our Health Minister is?” along with “Why are so many SKM people posting about Dhoka and Gaddari..lots of rumours and speculations surfacing”. These updates have been posted on Facebook by the former editor at Talk Sikkim, Mita Zulca. Some commenters remain hopeful while some believe that “there is no smoke without fire”.
Many have reacted that in the wake of coronavirus and when quarantine has become crucial and when the Government should be in preparation of an outbreak, the Minister of Health has gone missing. Tek Nath Dhakal, SKM functionary and former MP candidate also posted on Facebook, “If any leader or Minister cheats the SKM party then it is cheating loyal Sikkimese people. No one should make this mistake. If you want to take a break from politics then I don’t have anything to say.” in regard to the rumours of Sharma joining BJP.
“Lots of speculations is coming up and there are several issues. Dr. M.K Sharma was missing during various meeting for COVID-19 which indicates that something is going on. People are going through a pandemic, the time isn’t right for your political games,” said Passang Sherpa, a political and social activist.
When rumours of Dr. M.K Sharma going missing came to light, people online started attaching political connotations to it and the topic started trending until the Minister reacted to the allegations last night on Facebook. He wrote:
“To all my Sikkimese people and Krantikari friends, there is a rumour circulating in Sikkim that I am joining BJP and forming a new government. This is entirely false and I condemn this!!… Presently I am in Guwahati for my personal treatment, please stay away from such rumours. Love you Krantikari. Jai Sikkim. Jai SKM.”
President of Mahila Morcha, BJP and MLA Rangrang Yangyang, Raj Kumari Thapa also released a statement concerning the rumour. Thapa strictly denied that there is no truth to the rumours and that BJP Legislators are busy with the preparation for the Assembly session and that few are in Delhi for party level training. She asked the opposition and the ruling party to focus on combatting the COVID-19 and prevent the virus from entering Sikkim instead.
Many people still seem miffed that despite the government having built the new multi-speciality STNM Hospital, Sochaygang and claiming its excellent qualities and features, Ministers themselves prefer to go out of state when it comes to their own treatment despite the Government advising locals to not travel outside Sikkim. That concludes the ‘Facebook sleuths’ investigation’ into the disappearance of the Minister. The rumour has escalated to such a degree that a reputed newspaper today had printed Dr Sharma’s story, thus stirring more mystery into a circumstance that seems like a thinly veiled political move.
This leaves a question in people’s mind – what is going in Sikkim’s political conclave?