Sikkim's Pawan Chamling becomes longest serving Chief Minister, surpasses former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu
Sikkim CM Pawan Kumar Chamling on Sunday surpassed the record of former West Bengal CM Jyoti Basu by becoming the longest serving Chief Minister of any Indian state.
KOLKATA: Sikkim Chief Minister and Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) founder Pawan Kumar Chamling on Sunday surpassed the record of former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu by becoming the longest serving Chief Minister of any Indian state.
While veteran communist Jyoti Basu ruled West Bengal for 23 years from June 21, 1977 till November 6, 2000, Pawan Kumar Chamling became Chief Minister of the Himalayan state on December 12, 1994 and completed his 24th year in office on Sunday.
A Bhanu Puraskar (2010) awarded poet with pen name ‘Kiran’ and father of four sons and four daughters from two wives, Chamling joined politics in 1973 and became member of the Legislative Assembly in 1985. He founded SDF in 1993 and formed the state government next year toppling the 179-day government of Sanchaman Limboo.
Sharing a photograph of his five different oath taking ceremonies in Facebook, the Sikkim Chief Minister wrote: “As I cross a personal milestone, I would like to remember all those who have been a part of this journey. First and foremost, my heartfelt gratitude goes to the people of Sikkim for reposing their faith in me by giving their mandate for five consecutive terms. On this momentous occasion, I also offer my homage to Late Shri Jyoti Basu ji, a great statesman for whom I have the highest respects and whose record stint as Chief Minister, I am fortunate to surpass.”
He also claimed that Sikkim got transformed from a poor backward state to a progressive state with high rate of economic growth under his rule. “Our initiatives such as organic farming, skill development, cleanliness drives and many of our environment-friendly policies are being replicated in other parts of the country. The life expectancy of our people has increased by a decade, from 62 years in 1994 to the present 72 years as per Government of India data,” he said.
“By ear-marking 70 per cent of the state budget for rural development, we set our target of alleviating poverty from rural areas, where 75 per cent of our population resides,” he added.
Though Chamling claimed growth, former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia, who recently launched his Hamro Sikkim Party in New Delhi, vowed to fight the 2019 Assembly elections on the planks of corruption, urban-rural growth gap and environmental degradation through dams. Bhaichung is enormously popular in the state and may emerge as a game changer with his hard-hitting issues.
Of the 32 Assembly seats, ruling SDF has 29 MLAs while opposition Sikkim Krantikari Morcha has only 2 seats. The lone independent MLA is a brother of the Chief Minister.