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news details
BJP, Congress make UT a major poll plank
Ladakhi scene
4/19/2019 12:10:10 AM
Early Times Report

JAMMU, Apr 18: The battle-lines in Ladakh are drawn. It's virtually the contest between the BJP (whose candidate Thupstan Chhewang had won the Lone Ladakh Lok Sabha seat in 2014) and the Congress. The BJP has fielded Jamyang Tsering Namgyal from this constituency. Presently, he is Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of the powerful Leh Autonomous Hill Council. The Congress has fielded Rigzin Spalbar against the BJP candidate. He is also a former CEO of the Leh Hill Development Council. He is quite popular and also vocal.
Both the BJP and the Congress candidates have made UT-for-Ladakh their major poll plank, saying that UT alone could end their age-old woes and enable them to develop their region in the manner they like. They have made it clear that they want a dispensation independent of Kashmir.
Explaining the position, the BJP candidate has said that the people of Ladakh do not consider the grant of divisional status a lasting solution to the Ladakhi problem. UT to the region alone could meet their age-old demand and fulfill their aspirations, said the BJP.
"The divisional status for Ladakh was a big leap towards our core demand for a UT status to the region. It is not an election issue for us. It is attached to everyone's soul and we will continue our struggle to make it a reality," Jamyang Tsering Namgyal was quoted as saying. He added that the people of Ladakh needed a separate legislative assembly so that they could frame laws suitable to the people of the region and the region itself.
The stand of the Congress is no different. In fact, it has accused the BJP of letting down the people of Ladakh by not fulfilling its 2014 pledge that it, if voted to power, will grant UT to the region within a period of six months.
Both the BJP and the Congress realize that the people Leh district would not accept anything short of UT and, hence, their insistence on UT for the region.
The third candidate in the fray would be Sajad Kargili. He was nominated by the Islamia School Kargil. Kargili is a scribe and a social activist. He will contest as an independent candidate. Reports from Kashmir suggest that the NC and the PDP have offered their support to Sajad Kargili.
There is a clear divide between the Buddhist-dominated Leh and Shia-dominated Kargil. Leh wants UT for the region; Kargil opposes it. The nature of the divide is such that the Leh leadership has said that it would try to convince the leadership from Kargil why UT for Ladakh is essential and would not mind UT status for the Leh district alone. However, the Ladakhi Buddhists, at the same time, want separation of Zanskar from Kargil and its merger with the Leh district, saying Zanskar is Buddhist-majority.
The most significant aspect of the whole Ladakhi scene is that all in Leh district - Buddhists, Muslims and Christians - are one as far as the demand for UT status for Ladakh is concerned.
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