The Election Commission today reduced the disqualification period for Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang to a year and one month. Mr Tamang, who had earlier spent a year in jail after being convicted in a corruption case, was also barred from contesting elections for 6 years.
Mr Tamang was found guilty in 2016 of misappropriating government funds in a cow distribution scheme when he was Minister for Animal Husbandry in the 1990s. The verdict was upheld by the state high court as well as the Supreme Court.
He had served his jail sentence from August 2017 till 2018.
Mr Tamang became the chief minister of Sikkim on April 2019 and as per law, has to win the election within six months to continue holding his post.
He had moved the Election Commission to waive his disqualification period by the power granted under Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act.
"He has, in fact, approached this Commission only when the elected representatives of his party, commanding a clear majority in the assembly of Sikkim, posed their faith in his leadership and when the Governor, in recognition of the same, invited him to form Government," the eight-page order said, according to news agency PTI.
"In other words, his disqualification period ended on September 10 this year and he can contest polls to continue as chief minister," a senior functionary was quoted as saying by PTI.
The Election Commission, after examining Mr Tamang's application, passed an order, reducing his disqualification period.
With his disqualification period reduced, he is now eligible to contest elections.
His party, the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha or SKM is an ally of BJP.
(With Inputs From PTI)