BJP has announce legislator DT Lepcha as its candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections scheduled on January 19.
Addressing a press conference in Gangtok, the BJP Sikkim unit informed that the party has named DT Lepcha as the candidate for the upcoming RS election and asserted that the ruling SKM has given its support to the BJP candidate.
“We thank the central leadership along with Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang and SKM legislators for their support for our Rajya Sabha candidate,” said BJP Sikkim president and Burtuk MLA DR Thapa while addressing a press conference in Gangtok the same day. “The decision to name MLA DT Lepcha as our candidate was taken during CM Tamang’s recent meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi,” said Thapa while confirming that the support from SKM was “unconditional,” said BJP Sikkim.
Five-time MLA DT Lepcha is the sitting Member of the Legislative Assembly from Gnathang-Machong constituency in Sikkim and had won the 2019 assembly election from the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) ticket. He later resigned from SDF and joined the BJP. Lepcha was the Minister for Transport and Public Works (Building and Housing) during the SDF government before 2019.
“I thank Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang and our central leadership for making me a candidate for the Sikkim Rajya Sabha seat,” said MLA DT Lepcha while addressing the press, “As an MP in the Rajya Sabha, I will raise Sikkim’s longstanding political demands and work for their resolution,” he added.
Currently, the legislative assembly of Sikkim consists of 32 members, 19 from the ruling SKM, 12 from BJP, and 1 from SDF.
When asked if the lone opposition SDF MLA and former CM Pawan Chamling was also supporting the BJP candidate, BJP Sikkim incharge Dilip Jaiswal said, “We will request him to support us.”
BJP Sikkim incharge also said that naming DT Lepcha as a candidate, supported by the alliance, would benefit Sikkim as Lepcha is among the most experienced leaders in Sikkim and would represent Sikkim’s demands in Parliament.
“DT Lepcha will bridge the gap between Delhi and Sikkim,” said Jaiswal, “this is an excellent decision for Sikkim,” he added.
The ruling front SKM and neither the opposition SDF has officially commented on MLA DT Lepcha’s candidature for the Rajya Sabha seat election.
Meanwhile, Lepcha is set to be a Rajya Sabha MP if he remains uncontested; however, if contested, the election is scheduled for January 19. The last date for filing nominations is January 9, 2024.