The Sikkim government follows the general pattern of the state governments of India. That is, it has a unicameral legislature, and an executive formed of a council of ministers headed by the chief ministers. The members to the state legislative are elected through the process of assembly elections. The present political structure of the government in Sikkim came about in 1975, when it became a part of the Indian democracy, shedding its monarchal roots.
The legislature of the Sikkim government has 32 assembly seats. One seat is reserved for the Sangha, the Buddhist representative - continuing with the tradition of the strong presence of the Buddhist theologians in Sikkim politics, right from the early days. The other 31 assembly constituencies are spread over the four districts of the state, form the very backbone of Sikkim politics.
Sikkim has one representative each in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the Lower and the Upper Houses of bicameral Indian legislative structure. The executive works with a council of ministers working under the able supervision of the chief minister. Politics in Sikkim is dominated by the personal charisma of the certain leaders in the state, who have guided the proceedings of the state's governance right from the moment of its inception. It has not been rare in Sikkim politics, to see that the success of a particular party rests solely on the popularity of some of its leader. There are certain ethnic and religious considerations that play their part in determining the course of the politics at Sikkim.
However, the situation has changed in the recent times. The political parties are moving towards strengthening their organizational strength. The dominance of the state level and regional political parties is also a notable feature of Sikkim politics. In the early days of the democracy in the state of Sikkim, the national level political parties started to make their presence felt more strongly in this picturesque Himalayan state. The Indian National Congress had the greatest influence of all other national political parties at Sikkim in that time, as it is now. The other national level political parties did not share the wide popularity that INC enjoyed. However, many of them have become proactive to increase their influence in this region.
The Sikkim chief minister is at the helm of the executive council of the state. He guides the functions of the council of ministers, who look after various departments of the state's governance. Pawan Chamling, the present Sikkim chief minister, is not only young and dynamic but is also loved for his extra-political and strong cultural profile.
Present Governor of Sikkim is Shriniwas Patil and is the nominal head of the state.
Speaker and Deputy Speaker
The deputy speaker of Sikkim legislative assembly assists the honorable speaker to conduct the proceedings of the house. It is an extremely prestigious post and is generally handed over to political personnel with immense experience and high political acumen. A kind of general and widespread acceptability also plays an important role in the appointment of the deputy speaker.
Sikkim Legislative Assembly
Sikkim legislative assembly is the most important part of the legislature of the state. The legislative assembly of Sikkim is comprised of a total of 32 members. They are chosen from same number of assembly constituencies distributed around the four districts of the state. The speaker is the most important person of the legislative assembly in Sikkim. He is responsible for a smooth running of the assembly. He is assisted in his job by the deputy speaker. The chief minister is the leader of the house. He leads the ruling party in the various discussions and debates in the house.
Sikkim Government Executive
The executive assembly of Sikkim government is a body of a council of ministers. Pawan Chamling is the present chief minister of the government in Sikkim. He is at the helm of the council of ministries of Sikkim. Present council of ministers in Sikkim consists of 11 cabinet ministers. They are vested with the responsibility to look after the various departments of the governance of the state. There are over 30 government departments in Sikkim. The Sikkim High Court is the highest judicial body in the state.
Political parties in Sikkim participate whole-heartedly in the assembly and the parliamentary elections of the state. There are both national level and state level political parties in Sikkim, although current position of the state shows a clear preference for the regional parties over the national level parties.
National Political Parties in the State
Sikkim politics started to follow the democratic system laid down by the Indian constitution after the abolition of the monarchy in 1975, following the common will of the inhabitants. Many major political parties participate in the politics of Sikkim. Although, it has been often observed that individuals more than parties, dominate Sikkim politics, yet the political parties try to maintain a strong organizational infrastructure.
State and Regional Political Parties of Sikkim
The state level political parties of Sikkim enjoy great popularity in the state. In fact, Sikkim is one of those few states where the state political parties enjoy popularity and power that is much higher than the high profile national political parties. There are many state and regional political parties in the state. The history of the political parties features a number of switches of loyalties, cessations and merges. Not all of them managed to have equal significance in the state's political scenario. However, Sikkim Democratic Party (SDF) enjoys great popularity in the state and continues to be the ruling party of the state for the last two assembly elections.
State constituencies of Sikkim
State constituencies of Sikkim are the very backbone of the democratic governance of the state. Ever since Sikkim became a part of the Indian democracy in 2005, the various state constituencies of Sikkim have been ascertained and thereafter been fiercely fought by both national and state level parties. The politics of Sikkim have seen a prominent presence of the state and regional parties, much more than is generally found in other parts of India. 32 assembly constituencies and one parliamentary constituency form the Sikkim state constituencies. These state constituencies in Sikkim are divided into general, SC and BL seats, reserved for candidates belonging to the above categories.
A list of the assembly constituencies of Sikkim along with their respective categories are provided below:
|Name of the State Constituency||Category|
|Rateypani West Pendam||SC|
|Central Pendam East Pendam||General|
Parliamentary Constituency in Sikkim
Sikkim has only one parliamentary constituency, which is one of the most prestigious of the Sikkim state constituencies. The Sikkim parliamentary constituency sends a representative from the state to Lok Sabha of the Indian legislature. Therefore, election here is very fiercely fought by the various national and state level parties of the state. Even this constituency among the Sikkim state constituencies, has seen a dominance of the state level parties, with Sikkim Democratic Front winning it for maximum times.
Sikkim Council of Ministers
Sikkim Council of Ministers is chosen from within the members of the ruling party and is part of the state legislative assembly. The council of ministers in Sikkim is responsible for looking after the betterment of the state through a smooth functioning of the various departments that are central to the state's governance. Sikkim council of ministers looks after various government departments. The members of the council of ministers of Sikkim are helped in the disposal of their responsibilities by a group of committed bureaucrats. A list of several departments of the government is:
- Home Department
- Development Planning Department
- Revenue and Expenditure Department
- Finance Department
- Economic Reforms & North East Council Affairs Department
- Health care Department
- Human Services and Family Welfare Department
- Fisheries and Veterinary Services Department
- Animal Husbandry Department
- Livestock Department
- Parliamentary Affairs Department
- Human Resource Department
- Sports and Youth Affairs Department
- Information Technology Department
- Urban Development and Housing Department
- Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department
- Energy and Power Department
- Cultural Affairs and Heritage Department
- Rural Management and Development
- Cooperation Department
- Food Security and Agriculture Development Departments
- Horticulture & Cash Crop Development Departments
- Irrigation and Flood Control Department
- Commerce and Industries Department
- Information Department
- Public Relations Department
- Printing and Stationary and Excise (Abkari) Department
- Roads and Bridges Departments
- Labour Department
- Tourism Departments
- Forest Environment and Wildlife Management Department
- Mines and Minerals Department
- Geology Department
- Science and Technology Department
- Transport Department
- Water Security Department
- Public Health Engineering Department
- Buildings and Housing Department
Sikkim Information Commission
Sikkim state commissions are specially formed by the government of Sikkim in order to oversee the functions of the various aspects of the governance of the state. The state commissions in Sikkim are set up from time to time, in order to satisfy the immediate needs as a given situation dictates, it can also be a permanent affair devoted to key issues like recruitment, investigation, research and development, etc. There are many commissions set up by the state government. The Sikkim state commission for women is one such key commission of the Sikkim state commissions, as is the State Information Commission of Sikkim.
Sikkim Commission for Women
The Sikkim State Commission for Women is a regional branch of the national commission for women as controlled and laid down by the center. The commission is primarily a human rights protection body, devoted towards protecting the social and individual rights of the women and children. The contact details of this extremely important branch of the state commissions are as follows:
Sikkim State Commission for Women
Old Secretariat Sikkim, Gangtok
Sikkim High Court
Sikkim High Court is the apex body of the judicial system of Sikkim. It was established in 1975 and is presently one of the smallest high courts in the country, with only three sanctioned judges. Previously a national court, the High Court of Sikkim was granted state high court status in 1975. Sikkim High Court is located in the city of Gangtok.
Sikkim High Court was established as the apex court of the entire judicial system in 1975, on the basis of the 38th amendment of the Indian Constitution. Before that, it functioned as a national court. The judicial nexus of Sikkim works through the various district courts that are placed at the individual districts. However, it is the High Court in Sikkim that oversees the functions of these courts. The present chief minister, Pawan Chamling is extremely keen to update and reform the functions of the Sikkim High Court and place the judicial operations in the state on a firm footing. The Sikkim High Court in Gangtok has thus been the venue of conferences and symposiums in the recent years of many judicial representatives from across the country. Therefore, the High court at Sikkim, despite being young and more recent than most other high courts of the country, has become an extremely significant judicial link in the nation's judicial system.
Last Updated on : October 21, 2014