Today Pawan Chamling is surpassing the late Marxist icon Jyoti Basu as the longest serving chief minister in any Indian state. Pawan Chamling who is the president of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), became the chief minister of Sikkim on December 12, 1994. Jyoti Basu on the other hand was the chief minister of Bengal for five consecutive terms from June 21, 1977 to November 6, 2000. Later he was replaced by Buddhadeb Bhattacharya due to health reasons. Pawan Chamling joined politics in 1973 and was elected in the Sikkim Assembly for the first time in 1985.
Pawan Chamling in a Facebook post mentioned,”As I cross a milestone, I would like to remember fondly all those who have been a part of this journey of more than two decades. First and foremost, my heartfelt gratitude goes to the people of Sikkim for reposing their faith in me by giving their mandate for five record consecutive terms.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.”
Jyoti Basu’s reign as the chief minister of Bengal was not without blemishes. There was virtually no opposition in the state and rampant corruption and unemployment took the state backwards. Similarly, Pawan Chamling era in Sikkim has got its dark secrets as well. Very recently, former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia announced formation of a new party ‘Hamro Sikkim’ and who knows, Pawan Chamling may face a tougher battle in near future and in upcoming Lok Sabha Elections scheduled next year.