The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced Dorjee Tshering Lepcha as its candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Sikkim in the upcoming elections on January 19th.
Long Political Career Across Parties
Lepcha is a veteran politician in the state, having served five terms as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and holding ministerial portfolios in previous governments.
He was first elected to the Sikkim Assembly in 1994 as a candidate of the Sikkim Sangram Parishad party from the Sang constituency. He later won successive elections from the Sang and Gnathang Machong constituencies, alternating between the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) and BJP.
Over his long political career, Lepcha has served as a Cabinet Minister handling diverse portfolios like Forests, Roads & Bridges, and Transport. He was most recently Transport Minister from 2014-2019 in former Chief Minister Pawan Chamling’s SDF government.
Switched from SDF to BJP in 2019
Although re-elected as an SDF MLA in the 2019 state elections, Lepcha subsequently resigned from the party and joined the BJP.
The BJP is now banking on Lepcha’s popularity and deep roots in Sikkimese politics to clinch the Rajya Sabha seat. With his extensive ministerial experience and familiarity with local issues, party leaders expressed confidence that Lepcha would be an asset to Sikkim’s representation at the national level if elected.
The Rajya Sabha contest promises to be a close one, with both the BJP and SDF fancying their chances. The election results on January 19th will determine if the BJP’s gambit in fielding Lepcha pays off.
Gangtokian Web Team, 07/01/2024