The BJP since its inception has claimed to be a party with a difference. In Atal -Advani era of the saffron party, the party had twin fold strategy with LK Advani pushing through its contentions agenda like Ram Temple which steered the party to become the single largest in the Lok Sabha, while Atal Bihari Vajpayee as its moderate Prime Ministerial face managed to placate all the allies which had a record number of parties in NDA from Shiv Sena to National Conference all under one roof.
However, the new Narendra Modi- Amit Shah team has seen the BJP losing alliance partners from Maharastra to Jharkhand, forcing BJP to sit in the opposition despite being the single largest party.
Sikkim too has supported the NDA led by BJP from 1998 to 2004, the ruling SDF sole MP in both houses of parliament had extended support to the Vajpayee government, which became the first non-Congress alliance to last full five years in office.
Former Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Chamling has in many occasion termed Vajpayee as the best Prime Minister he has worked with, which is in sharp contrast to him criticising the current PM, Modi in the fag end of his term as the CM.
As the new government led by SKM took charge in Sikkim, the party almost sealed a pre-poll deal with the saffron party before elections, only to concede two seats later at the by-polls which was won by BJP.
The BJP- SKM seat sharing is more of an understanding rather than any formal alliance. This has been reiterated by the CM, PS Golay in the Assembly when he referred to the saffron party as the opposition. Similarly, state BJP leadership along with its legislature party has not been given any significant role in the government, effectively giving them the role of opposition.
Political circles in Gangtok was abuzz with murmurs of the national party joining the state government, but that too has died down with SKM toning down its alliance rhetoric with BJP. Many in the rank and file of the regional SKM party which now is the centre pole of Sikkim politics have stated their aversion to any cabinet reshuffle which they feel will dilute the regional stand of the party.
Similarly, the political drama that followed post the new government took over with SDF MLAs joining the BJP and subsequent aggressive tone adopted by the saffron party before by-polls has also led to an alienation of voters in Sikkim, particularly in Gangtok which led to a very low voter turnout.
Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is another law that could play out in Sikkim. The SKM leadership may try to reassure the public on the assurances given by the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah in spite of Sikkim’s MPs voting against it in the parliament; this remains a highly sensitive topic for Sikkim and the entire North East.
For the next state assembly elections, it is unlikely that SKM or SDF would have any seat-sharing understanding with the BJP. Many workers of these regional parties have questioned whether the saffron surge can happen in the Himalayan state sans SKM or SDF.
Before the next general elections, BJP will surely try to meddle with fire by bringing other contentious agenda before their term ends, this will surely test the ‘Chanakya Neeti’ of the saffron party which is facing an alliance crisis across the country.