Sikkim set for Panchayat elections tomorrow, SDF ahead

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Gangtok, Oct 25 (UNI) This tiny himalayan state of Sikkim is all set for the rural body elections to be held tomorrow, as campaigning by the political parties and independent candidates ended last evening for the Gram Panchayat and Zilla Panchayat seats.

The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) has already received an imposing 66 per cent walkover in the 889 Gram Panchayat seats with 585 uncontested victories. Similarly, SDF has won 46 Zilla Panchayat seats uncontested out of 93 seats.

With SDF's victory a foregone conclusion, all eyes are now set on how the other political parties and independent candidates will fare in the remaining 304 Gram Panchayat seats and 47 Zilla seats.

Independent candidates pose a major challenge to the SDF juggernaut with the opposition political parties like the Congress, CPI(M) and Sikkim Gorkha Democratic Party offering a token participation in the rural body elections.

State Election Commission informed that all possible steps have been taken to ensure a free and fair election.

A total of 3144 polling officials and 1048 police personnel will be deputed in the 524 polling stations across the state.

Fate of 717 candidates for the 304 Gram Panchayat seats and 124 candidates for 47 Zilla Panchayat seats will be sealed tommorrow.

Casting of votes will begin from 0800 hrs and end by 1600 hrs said the Commission. While Counting of votes will be held on October 29.

Election officials proceeded towards their deputed polling stations with EVMs today from here.

The lowest voters are from Lower Linzey ward in North Sikkim with 41 electors while Melli ward in South Sikkim has the highest with 1179 voters. Nathang in East Sikkim is the highest polling booth at an altitude of 13000 ft. Polling booths at Sumshi in West Sikkim, Betholung in North Sikkim and Karmatar in South Sikkim are most remote areas of the state.

UNI

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