Meet some young politicians of Sikkim

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One of the loudest cries we often hear is “youths are the future of nation and are the strong driving force for a social change in any state or country. Youth should play a more prominent role in politics and public administration”. But, if youths are the future?! who are the present?. Despite the constant urge amongst the general public for more youth participation in politics yet one can hardly trace youths in the policy making framework of a nation India which has the world largest youth population.

Sikkim, being one of the youngest states of the India Union and celebrating 44 years of democracy. Young Sikkim does have many political parties contesting for the mandate in every 5 years yet not even a handful young politicians are seen representing their political front and contesting an election. All political parties in Sikkim have the youth wing but hardly young legs are visible in the electoral politics or it may be the political outfits do have young leaders but not under the public eye.

Here’s some of the young faces in politics of Sikkim who have been doing their best in politics yet not introduced well. Meet them and also know their political ideologies.

“In Sikkim politics is practiced only after the age of 50 or after being well settled. This thinking should be changed. There is a need of youth participation in policy making of our state, if not today than we may go into extreme suppressions. Youth should step up openly in public participation. It is very disappointing to see the apparent lack of participation or engagement of youths in the pubic open forum like Gram Shabhas or any public hearing related to developmental projects.” – Bikash Basnet

Bikash Basnet (30) joined politics in the year 2013 and at the age of 26, became the youngest candidate from Sikkim Krantikari Morcha to contest election from Rangang-Yangang constituency, south Sikkim. Presently, he holds a post of Publicity Secretary in SKM party.

Born and brought up in Yangang, south Sikkim, Basnet completed his fundamentals from Government Senior Secondary School, Yangang and graduated in Bachelors in Business Administration from ICFAI University, Sikkim in 2010. Later, in 2011 completed his PG Diploma in Film and Television and Post Gradutated in Economics in the year 2013.

He was inclined towards politics since his early childhood but only garnered more interest after he met the former Chief Minister and President of Sikkim Sangram Parishad Late. N. B . Bhandari during his college days. “Lt. Bhandari is the person who inspired me to join politics and give service to the people of Sikkim. He was an open book of Sikkim’s political history and the best person who could impart politics in great details. He was the one who nurtured and groomed me to join politics and inculcated the notions of serving my motherland selflessly” says Bikash Basnet.

Before joining mainstream politics he worked with National Students’ Union of India and also invested his two years in journalism. He worked with TV Live Productions, Doordarshan Kendra, Gangtok and monthly magazine Talk Sikkim. ” While working with Talk Sikkim for one year I was exposed to the prevailing political situation of Sikkim which further moulded my inclination towards politics” adds Bikash.

“Politics is a creative art directly linked with people, demography, society, culture , communal harmony ,economy and in large subject that serves service to humanity. Once you have pure thoughts to work for people than there will be a change of perception regarding politics” quotes Bikash Basnet.

He further believes that there are many issues that needs to be addressed in Sikkim.”In Sikkim, political service is understood as the medium for inappropriate use of public fund for self comfort. Policy makers should have pure minds to serve the people, not for self-benefit or gaining extra superiority or wealth out of corruption. Though there are sincere people in politics and administration but in total, it is captured by corrupt people. A big revolution is need of an hour to change a corrupt system” strongly adds Bikash Basnet.

Basnet further states, “In Sikkim politics is practiced only after the age of 50 or after being well settled. This thinking should be changed. There is a need of youth participation in policy making of our state, if not today than we may go into extreme suppressions. Youth should step up openly in public participation. It is very disappointing to see the apparent lack of participation or engagement of youths in the pubic open forum like Gram Shabhas or any public hearing related to developmental projects.”

Young Bikash Basnet outlines that there is a need of youth in politics of Sikkim who can certainly understand the aspirations of today’s youths.

“In many cases, I even realized that the rule of law has been undermined by politicians and elected representatives just to fulfill their selfish aim. I believe that politics has to be done with spirit of positive change. Sikkim politics lacks Intellectualism. I have a firm belief that Sikkim politics can be transformed by following the basic rules of democratic opposition instead of personal hatred” – Indra Hang Subba

A 29 year old Indra Hang Subba is West District President of Hamro Sikkim Party. Being into mainstream politics today, he is also pursuing his Ph.D. in ‘light – atom interaction’ from Sikkim Central University. Completed his schooling from various schools of west Sikkim, he later graduated in Physics from Calcutta University in 2011 and completed his Post Graduation in Physics from Sikkim Central University.

Born and brought up in Hee Kengbari, Hee Gaon, West Sikkim, almost 150 kilometers away from the capital Gangtok, he understands the economic status and way of life of the rural Sikkim, states Subba. He is a firm believer of rule of law. He believes that freedom of every individual must be guaranteed and protected for the society and a nation to progress.

“As I grew older, I started becoming aware of the political, economic and social situations in Sikkim. I started to sense inconsistencies in the policies. In many cases, I even realized that the rule of law has been undermined by politicians and elected representatives just to fulfill their selfish aim. I believe that politics has to be done with spirit of positive change. Sikkim politics lacks Intellectualism. I have a firm belief that Sikkim politics can be transformed by following the basic rules of democratic opposition instead of personal hatred” says Indra Hang Subba.

“Economic capacity of those at the bottom of the pyramid needs improvement. Education system should be transformed to strengthen our human resources. Sikkim lacks human resources to run the administration.The infrastructure in the remote areas are pathetic. Worst of all, political patronage have ruined Sikkim’s administration. Entire administration will rejuvenate and become better if one instills competition and fairness instead of favoritism” states strongly Subba.

Before entering mainstream politics he also worked as an adhoc-based Mathematics teacher where during the period he encountered the flaws that lie in the service sector. He strongly felt that youths have been under-employed and under-paid for their service. He realised that the energy and enthusiasm of his contemporaries were draining out due to carelessness of the policy makers most of whom are politicians elected as representatives. Unemployment is a major issue, adds Subba.

Energy and enthusiasm of youths should be channelized in state building process instead of exploiting them.

“I decided to join politics not because I hate anyone in the incumbent government nor did I ever think that I would make everything alright. But I am sure that I can make a difference by indulging in electoral politics. I am here with a purpose to serve those deprived of their rights, those less privileged than many of us. I dream of Sikkim becoming a better place not just for tourists but for our own people as well. I believe that transformation happens in a gradual manner. For this transformation to happen every generation should contribute in whatever way possible” says Indra Hang Subba.

“The call for a change has to be from within and soul, that’s a better change. Increase in youth participation in politics is imperative now. The time has come for youths to influx politics” – Ashish Rai.

Ashish Rai (43) presently holds the post of Chairman of Gangtok Municipal Corporation and also the Councillor of Arithang ward under GMC.He is with the Sikkim Democratic Front since its advent in the year 1994. He hails from a political family. His father Late. C S Rai, was the former MLA and the first speaker of Sikkim Legislative Assembly.

Rai did his schooling from St. Augustine school, Kalimpong and Enchey Senior Secondary School Gangtok. Later, graduated in Political Science from Calcutta University. Initially, he wanted to get into government sector jobs but later he inclined towards politics and started comprehending politics of Sikkim deeply. He feels politics is an instrument used for the holistic development and upliftment of society. Politics is a medium to help people.

According to him, the ruling party Sikkim Democratic Front is the school of politics and he firmly believes the SDF institute shall produce more young leaders with time. “There is a tremendous youth participation in SDF, we need to activate them. Youth should be given an opportunity with senior leaders guiding them. Youths will surely bring more good and positive energy in state” says Ashish Rai.

“The call for a change has to be from within and soul, that’s a better change. Increase in youth participation in politics is imperative now. The time has come for youths to influx politics. He urges the youths to take admission in politics and become a bridge between the youths and the government” adds Rai.

He firmly believes that there is no alternative to Sikkim Democratic Front in terms of good leadership and young leaders. The party in future shall produce more young leadership which shall bring more development of the state.

Ashish Rai aspires to work for the uplfitment of youth and provide them with contention to be born and brought up in Sikkim. He believes to provide youths with better opportunities and make their present good so that the future can be better, adds Rai.

“Peace is the main asset or trait that we have inherited from our older generation. We need to work hard and retain it with full energy, youths should play a vital role to lead the way” – Ashish Rai.

He wants to make all the youths of Sikkim self dependent and involved in various promising sectors of enterpreneurship. He also firmly believes that Sikkimese youths have the huge potential but only thing what one lacks in realization thus early realization is needed and explore avenues and take state forward.

Ashish Rai also firmly believes is youth participation in all aspects of society for holistic development of state and nation. Youth in Sikkim should be opportunities creator. The traditional mindset of the young people should change now. Sikkim youths should be active and change mindset and start taking risks to bring difference in society.

He encourages young people to come and join politics with new thoughts and notions. Youths are the powerhouse of any social change thus no youth should be left behind when it comes to any participation that shall reap development of Sikkim.

“I strongly believe that youth involvement in politics and precisely electoral politics in important and a call of an hour. Youths are the powerhouse of democratic change and one should abide by all rule of laws to bring forth the holistic change in state”.- Tshering Wangchuk Lepcha

Tshering Wangchuk Lepcha (39) joined politics as the General Secretary of Sikkim Pradesh Trinamool Congress in 2013. Later, he contested in 2014 general elections from Gangtok constituency. Recently, he joined Sikkim Krantikari Morcha and holds the post of Incharge of Educated Unemployed Youth Wing (North/East Sikkim).

Born to parents K Lepcha and Lachu Maya Chettri, Tshering Wangchuk acquired all his basic and higher education from Tashi Namgyal Academy, Gangtok and completed his graduation in Bachelors in Arts from the Hindu college, Delhi University.

“After joining politics, I have become more serious. I have to think over a ten times before I take a step. You tend to analyse things and research more on topics which are people centric and will benefit public at large. I have also come to realise that “system changes with good policies and society changes with good moral values”. By venturing into Politics, it has helped me to speak out more against the wrong policies and system which will benefit innocent public at large” says Tshering Wangchuk Lepcha.

Lepcha also believes that  one doesn’t have to be in position or power to change things, it’s the power and ‘believe to change things’ that matters in the end.

Before joining politics Lepcha also worked as an adhoc teacher for three years in various schools of south and east Sikkim. He strongly believes that youth involvement in politics and precisely electoral politics in important and a call of an hour. Youths are the powerhouse of democratic change and one should abide by all rule of laws to bring forth the holistic change in state.

Tshering was equally a musician and a social worker before plunging into active politics. He was a part of musical bands, performed solo and was also the general secretary of Organization of Musicians and Artists of Sikkim (OMAS).

He was the founding member of various social and apolitical organization viz. Dirty Angels Motorcycle Club(DAMC), Organisation of Musicians And Artists of Sikkim (OMAS), Himalayan Ethnic Lepcha Fashion Event (HELFE), Nationalist Sikkim United Organisation (NSUO), Sikkim Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association (SILTA) an Concerned Sikkimese Bhutia Lepcha Nepali (CSBLN).

As a young politician, his message to the youths is “change can happen if you have the courage to speak and support the truth and follow the truth. You have to know what kind of Change you want and be focused so that it turns to be a positive one. Be more open to learn more everyday. The principal of “WEGO” should be followed instead of “EGO”.

By Yougan Tamang (Writer can be reached at yougain87@gmail.com)

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