Voting for simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Sikkim began on Saturday, in which an electorate of 370,731, including 1,79,650 female voters, are eligible to participate.
A force of 3,500 policemen and 15 companies of the West Bengal police have been assigned to maintain security during polling in this peaceful Himalayan state. Election will be held in the lone Lok Sabha and 32 Assembly constituencies. In all 538 polling stations have been set up.
Tek Nath Dhakal of the newly-launched Sikkim Krantikari Morcha is pitted against sitting SDF MP Prem Das Rai in what is billed as a very tough fight.
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Apart from the two home-grown parties, the BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have also put up candidates.
There were 121 contestants for the 32 Assembly seats and six for the Lok Sabha seat.
SKM leader Prem Singh Tamang, known as P S Golay, is a major contender for the chief minister. Chamling would be contesting from two places – Namchi-Singhithang and Rangang-Yangang. Other prominent candidates included SKM’s Bharati Sharma from Soreng-Chakung seat.
Out of the 32 Assembly seats, two are reserved for SC while 12 are meant for the Bhutia and Lepcha communities.
The Congress is contesting all the seats, while the BJP has put up candidates in 13 seats and Trinamool 7.
Besides, there were five independents contesting the Assembly polls.