Despite being legally barred to contest elections, 51 year old Prem Singh Tamang, also known as PS Golay, on Monday took oath as the sixth chief minister of Sikkim.
Golay, president of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) did not contest the state assembly election, and was still unanimously elected as the legislature party leader on Saturday.
The SKM chief was convicted for corruption as the animal husbandry minister, and spent 12 months behind bars. His sentence ended on August 10, 2018.
According to Section 8 of the Representation of People’s Act, anyone convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act cannot contest an election for a period of six years from the date of completing the prison term. As per the law, Golay cannot contest elections till August 9, 2024.
Keeping aside the legal complications, Sikkim Governor Ganga Prasad administered the oath of office to Golay and the 11-member council of ministers at Paljor Stadium in Gangtok on Monday.
Golay and the other SKM ministers took the oath of office in Nepali language. Hundreds of SKM supporters had gathered at the stadium in a show of strength, and also to cheer the new CM of Sikkim.
The 11 SKM leaders who took the oath as ministers are Dr Mani Kumar Sharma, Arun Kumar Upreti, Sandup Lepcha, Bhim Hang Limboo and Sanjit Kharel, Kunga Nima Lepcha, Sonam Lama, Bedu Singh Panth, Lok Nath Sharma, Mingma Norbu Sherpa and Karma Loday Bhutia.
The SKM, founded in 2013, won 17 seats in the 32-member Sikkim Legislative Assembly. The SDF won 15 seats. The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), under the leadership of Pawan Chamling ruled Sikkim for 24 years.
Former chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling and senior SDF did not attend the swearing-in ceremony.