The ruling party SKM held its 14th Rholu picnic on December 14, marking a particularly special day in SKM party calendar. The particular day is when the current CM PS Tamang drew differences between the then Chief Minister PK Chamling and went on forming its very foundation for the SKM party.
Prem Singh Tamang, going down memory lane, compared the assembly of people the very first Rholu Diwas to have less than 5 percent of the attendance of people as today. However he asserted, “Those that joined the 2009 picnic had courage to bring the system change. Many were killed thereafter, many were victimized, but today RHOLU stands for Revolutionary Home for Oppressed Laid down and Underprivileged. Today it is home to revolutionaries and those that speak out.
Furthermore addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang mentioned that, “For 14 years, since the very first Rholu picnic in 2009, we have struggled to make Sikkim better ensuring system change. It is similar to the 14 years of Banbas of Lord Ram who made his return after 14 years. From here on we must make Sikkim Ram Rajya, where everyone must contribute. Since SKM formed the government everyone has had a good life even if not for profit or gain but good life. On the auspicious day of Rolu Diwas, we must all promise, that the rest of our years we will serve the poor in the State”.
The day long program saw new joinings over 150 leaders from Sikkim Democratic Front joined SKM party. Among the prominent joinings were former legislators Shyam Pradhan who had previously contested from SKM ticket but later joined as SDF legislator in 2014, former legislator Tenzi Sherpa from Daramdin constituency who had won from SDF, former Sikkim Pradesh Congress President Penzo Delay Namgyal, former SDF spokesperson Avinash Yakha and former South Zilla Adhyaksha CL Gurung among many others.
“Those that have joined today must not become a burden to the party. They have joined not to get anything in return, but after 3 years of SKM governance they have made their analysis, thereafter they have joined. No one needs to be worried or insecure about their entry in the party”. Said CM Tamang.
Tamang refused to look back on the history of such political leaders, claiming, “We will not target them for their affiliation in 2014 or 2019, but focus on our target for 2024 and 2029. We don’t expect them to keep their hands tied after joining, politics is a game of competition similar to the recently concluded football World Cup. Whoever has joined must not be part of this group or that group but come collectively as SKM. Have heard many times how people are forced to join through a certain person who pretends to be leader of a group”.
Putting a foot ahead on who will be the party candidates in 2024 assembly elections, SKM Party President declined that he has given any individual ‘green signal’ to be a party candidate from any constituency in the State. He said, “I have not given any one green signal to declare this constituency will be representative by this candidate in 2024. To work for the party is not the green signal. The green signal will be given by the people not PS Golay. Those that get green signal from people they are our representative. Those approved by me could very well get red card from the people. There are 1000s of karyakarta, many of whom eligible to become legislators but we have to select the best 32. In 2024, best of the best 32 will be selected. Even if I am not the best, I can be left out. I will cheer for them. Not necessarily I have to play, but in 2024 we will form the government. Through every hardship we will form the government”.
Asserting on the strength of SKM party to have grown as compared to 2019, Tamang said, “In 2019 we did not have any strength. In 2024, we have all strength having had 6 Zilla Adhyaksha and their subordinates, all 1147 panchayats are our people. Panchayat election was violence free in all 1147 wards. Panchayat election didn’t divide us but United us. Many of whom have joined us today. Won’t buy youths for politics, but make them self reliant”.
Tamang refused to divulge on the oppostion parties or their activities. The only reference he made was as, “I am not happy to become CM or to defeat (Pawan) Chamling or to be SKM President. I am happy I have won over my own anger. The PS Golay of 1990s was different, all those anger I have defeated. I don’t get angry but I get disheartened when someone says wrong about the party or work against the party. Sikkim Sankalp or Sikkim Sudhar Yatra, I will not talk about them. I don’t get angry, when the time comes I will talk about them. SKM listens everyone’s grievances from government employees to the poor people”, said the Chief Minister.
Speaking on the recent public concerns such as Old pension system revival, Tamang said, “Old pension scheme will be given as against the new pension scheme. Until 2005, those employed before that are getting pension as per old Government Provident Fund scheme whole after 2005 are getting CPF. On December 10 we formed a committee for restoration of old pension scheme. In three months we will submit report in an attempt at restoration of old pension scheme”.
Speaking on the recent protest for Minimum Wage payment for government labourers, Golay said, “Labour working in roads or PWD are being instigated by a few to speak against the minimum wage hike of Rs. 15,000 per month for labourers. Those labourers working in government departments we are finding out different categories. Some labourers cannot be regular ever but can work until they physically cankot. But some can get regualrised among government labours. So we are finding those we can and we cannot, but those that can be regularized they will get Rs. 15000 as minimum wage”.
Among the various new declarations made by the Chief Minister on the occasion include, “One house must get atleast one government scheme, that is our target for 2023 to ensure either government job or home construction, but one scheme should reach every home”.
The Chief Minister also declared that the employees of State Bank of Sikkim will have an increase in retirement age from current 58 years to 60 years for retirement effective from November 30.
In the process, CM Tamang also announced that the Chalak (Drivers) Welfare Board will be formed with a new chairperson and 11 other executives inclusive of district bodies by January 15 for the welfare of taxi vehicle drivers of the State.
CM also announced Underdeveloped Village Development Board with a chairman to be from the village knowing various village issues which will work as village development board. He announced Rs. 1-5 Crore special package for such boards