Early Times Report
Srinagar, Apr 21: As seven candidates are in the fray for the Ladakh Lok Sabha constituency, the fate of politically polarized constituency has been left by the political parties to local politicians as top leadership of all the parties have remained absent from the scene.
Seven candidates are in the fray for the Ladakh Lok Sabha constituency. The last date for withdrawal of names is April 22 in the constituency that is going to the polls on May 6. Besides candidates of the Congress and the BJP, five independents are also in the fray now. The Bharatiya Janata Party has announced 31-year-old Jamyang Tsering Namgyal as its candidate for Ladakh Lok Sabha constituency.
The young leader, who serving as the current chief executive councillor (CEC) of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), remained private secretary to the former BJP MP and renowned Buddhist spiritual leader, Thupstan Chhewang. While the Congress has given ticket to Rigzin Saplbar, a prominent Buddhist leader and a former CEC of the Ladakh council.
However, top leaders of all leaders have given a miss to Ladkah region. No senior leader of any party has address any election rally there.
Senior BJP and Congress leaders have held election rallies in Jammu and Kashmir regions. However, none of senior party leaders have visited the Ladakh so far.
"It seems political parties are not concerned about addressing our local issues," said Mohammad Hussan, a resident of Kargil.
These parties did not even mention about Ladakh in their rallies or in their manifestos," he said.
Jammu and Kashmir Government earlier this year approved creation of a separate administrative and revenue division for Ladakh. This division will comprise Leh and Kargil districts with its headquarters at Leh.
The Government has also approved creation of the posts of divisional commissioner (Ladakh), Leh and Inspector General of Police (Ladakh), Leh.
Rigzan, a resident of Leh, said that political parties have never been interested in addressing issues of Ladakh region. "All parties want to take political mileage of this region," Rigzan said.
"We have invited the senior Congress leaders for campaigning here, but they all have turned down our invitation. Now only the local leaders are trying to woo the voters," a senior Congress leader said.
"The visit of senior BJP leaders would have boosted the morale of party activists and activate the BJP cadre in the region," a BJP leader said.
Ladakh - one of the largest Lok Sabha constituencies in terms of area has witnessed a tradition of more or less alternatively electing Buddhists and Muslims as MPs for quite some time. In 1989, an Independent candidate, Mohammad Hassan Commander, became the MP from Ladakh. In 1996, P Namgyal of the Congress represented the region in the Parliament.
Fresh elections were held after the government collapsed at the Centre in 1998, and NC leader Syed Hussain was elected. In 1999, Hassan Khan won as the NC's candidate, and in 2004, Independent candidate Thupstan Chhewang was declared winner. In 2009, Hassan Khan returned to the Lok Sabha as an Independent but by 2014, Thupstan Chhewang had been elected on a BJP ticket.