The State government in Sikkim has been soundly defeated in the first local Assembly election since the former Himalayan Kingdom merged with India in 1975.
GV & SV People queuing outside polling station (2 SHOTS)
SV INTERIOR Poll officials checking names PAN TO People looking at voting sheets
SV People voting (2 SHOTS)
SV Chief electoral officer and inspector general of police checking proceedings
CU Woman voting
GV White hall where counting was carried out
SCU Ballot slips being counted (2 SHOTS)
SV Leader of Janata Parishad, Sonam Tshering leaving hall surrounded by supporters
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The State government in Sikkim has been soundly defeated in the first local Assembly election since the former Himalayan Kingdom merged with India in 1975. The local Janata Party of former Chief Minister Kazi Lhendup Dorji failed to win any of the 31 seats declared in Friday's (12 October) election for the 32 seat State Legislature.
SYNOPSIS: The State of Sikkim is considered a strategic area in India's North East. It has a large concentration of Indian troops stationed opposite Chinese held Tibet.
Observers saw the election as a test of public feeling over the four year merger with India. In Gangtok the voting began on an orderly note. For the first time anywhere in India, voters were issued with identity cards to counter any claims of electoral malpractice.
The voting was overseen by both electoral and police officials. More than seventy per cent of the 117-thousand registered voters took part in the election. As the ballots were counted it was apparent the government had suffered a resounding defeat and observers likened it to a delayed vote against the merger. The Opposition Janata Parishad Party which had campaigned to maintain
Sikkimese identity emerged victorious picking up 16 of the available seats, while another eleven went to the Congress Revolutionary Party. Janata Parishad Party leader Sonam Tshering was cheered as the result became known. The new government will be sworn in within the next week.