Published By: Sanstuti Nath
Last Updated: September 06, 2023, 13:15 IST
Gangtok (incl. Upper Tadong), India
Footballer-turned-politician Bhaichung Bhutia on Wednesday said that he was open to joining the opposition Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) led by former chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling.
The Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) president told PTI that talks are underway with the SDF and “things may be finalised soon”.
“We are in talks with the SDF and things may be finalised in a few days. We will be able to give the complete details only after that,” he said, when asked to confirm rumours doing rounds about the possibility of him joining the main opposition party in the Himalayan state.
The 46-year-old former international footballer, however, confirmed that he was “open to joining the SDF”.
On the fate of the HSP, which Bhutia had founded along with like-minded people ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he said discussions were underway within the party (on its future).
The party had polled less than two per cent votes in the last assembly polls in which Bhutia also lost from the two seats he had contested.
Bhutia has held several meetings with Chamling to formulate a common strategy to take on the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha led by Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, better known as P S Golay.
The HSP leader has been relentlessly attacking Tamang on governance-related issues and also accused the CM of “being party to the dilution of Article 371 (F) of the Constitution that protects old laws of Sikkim”.
Chamling’s party had won 15 assembly seats in the previous polls, but 12 of them later joined the BJP, while two switched their allegiance to the ruling SKM.
A large number of SDF members, including former MLAs and senior leaders, have also quit the party.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)