Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang aka Golay on Monday charged his predecessor Pawan Kumar Chamling with muzzling the press during his 25 year-long rule in the Himalayan state.
However, the situation will change under the new Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) government, he said at the 17th Foundation Day function of the Press Club of Sikkim here. Golay announced the constitution of a Media Welfare Board to look into all areas for development of journalism in Sikkim and promised to construct a new Press Club building in the state capital.
"The 25 years of Chamling' autocratic rule in Sikkim was a nightmarish experience for the press fraternity in Sikkim as they were prevented from writing about the misdeeds of the Sikkim Democratic Front government," Golay claimed. Some journalists were even physically attacked during the previous regime, the SKM chief alleged. "Chamling also diverted several crores of rupees meant for the development of media in Sikkim by publishing books and publicity materials to bolster his own image," the chief minister said.
Efforts to get the reaction of the SDF on the allegations failed. The SDF, which ruled Sikkim for nearly 25 years, is now left with just one MLA - Chamling himself - who has also been the party supremo since its formation 26 years ago. In August, 10 SDF MLAs joined the BJP while two other legislators of the party switched over to the ruling SKM.