Sikkim was one of the four states where assembly polls were held simultaneously with general elections.
On May 23, when results were announced, BJP drew blank. But on Tuesday, almost three months after the results, the saffron party became the main Opposition party in the assembly.
BJP got a big push after 10 MLAs of Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) switched sides.
A few hours ago, 10 MLAs of SDF turned saffron in the presence of BJP Working President JP Nadda and senior leader Ram Madhav, credited for the party's rise in Northeast.
SDF had won 15 seats in the 32-member assembly.
Its rival, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), which was founded in 2013, won 17 seats, formed the government, and Prem Singh Tamang became the CM.
"SDF was in power in Sikkim for 25 years and now most of the MLAs of the legislative party have joined BJP. We will fulfill the responsibilities of an Opposition party in Sikkim and strengthen the organizational base of the party," Madhav told media.
This mass exit served a big blow to Pawan Kumar Chamling, who was the CM of Sikkim for 24 long years.
In 2016, when BJP formed an anti-Congress alliance for the northeast, Chamling was one of the founding members.
However, he clarified his party SDF won't forge a pre-poll alliance with BJP for assembly polls.
"We want BJP to form government in Sikkim and our primary focus will be to increase the grassroots presence of BJP in the state. This will help us strengthen the organizational network of the party," said Dorjee Tshering Lepcha, a former minister in Chamling's government.
Now, SDF has only three MLAs and out of them, two have turned rebels. Reports claim they could also join BJP.
As of now, the strength of Sikkim assembly is 29. Three MLAs including Chamling had contested from two seats and were forced to let go of one after polls results.
The by-polls are expected to take place in October this year.
It's important to note that SDF deserters didn't violate the anti-defection law. The law states that if two-third or more members of a party switch sides, they can't be disqualified.
Though the rise in BJP's numbers doesn't threaten the SKM government directly, it could have an effect in the long run if MLAs of the ruling party also join the saffron party.
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