Gangtok: Polling began this morning for 32 Assembly and the lone parliamentary constituency in Sikkim amid tight security arrangements.
Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, who is also the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) President, former chief minister and state Congress president Nar Bahadur Bhandari and Assembly Speaker D N Takarpa are among prominent candidates contesting the assembly polls.
There are total of 167 candidates. The SDF has fielded former deputy chairman of the State Planning Commission P D Rai and the Congress K N Upreti for the Lok Sabha seat which was being contested by seven candidates.
Sikkim has a total electorate of 3,00,185 who are eligible to exercise their franchise at 493 polling stations. Elaborate arrangements have been made throughout the state for conduct of a free, fair and transparent polls with a team of eight central observers keeping a close watch on the election process.
On the security front, police stations are looking after security at polling stations, while central para military forces have been deployed judiciously in and around sensitive and hyper-sensitive constituencies, officials said.