Congress participates in rural body polls under protest

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Gangtok, Oct 7 (UNI) Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee(SPCC) today claimed that the upcoming Panchayat elections in the state are not being conducted in a 'free and fair' manner.

Claiming widespread atrocities and suppression of the Opposition party candidates by the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front(SDF), SPCC said the people of Sikkim are feeling 'orphaned' by the Centre.

''What is the Union Home Minister doing? Is he not getting daily reports from Sikkim?'' demanded state Congress chief Nar Bahadur Bhandari today in a press meet.

The party also released its party manifesto for the upcoming October 26 rural body polls. Fifteen Congress candidates are contesting in the Zilla Panchayat seats while 40 are contesting in ward Panchayat seats.

''We are contesting under protest,'' Mr Bhandari emphatically stated.

There are 93 Zilla Panchayat seats and 888 Gram Panchayat wards in Sikkim.

The ruling SDF party had already received 67 per cent uncontested winners in Gram seats and another 49 percent in Zilla Panchayat seats.

Mr Bhandari also claimed that Sikkim is 'burning' because of Nepalese Maoist activities in the state.

''I have submitted sufficient information to the Centre in this regard,'' he said.

According to Mr.Bhandari, the 110 km border between Sikkim and Nepal was open and porous.


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