What Led To Saffron Sweep In Ladakh

24 October 2015
Mail Today
Siddhartha Rai

New Delhi: A complete rejection of the Congress, acceptance of RSS programmes and attraction for Narendra Modi's development plank seem to have worked in favour of the BJP, which registered a landslide victory in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) elections on Friday. In the constituencies lined along the Indo-China border, the perception of a 'militarily strong' Modi government, too, played its part in swinging votes for the BJP. Coming at a time when the BJP is perceived to be facing an uphill task against the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Yadav Mahagathbandhan in Bihar, the party got a shot in the arm as it turned the tables on the Congress in an area that has a mixed demography comprising Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Christians. Buoyed party leaders hailed it as a sign of things to come in Bihar too. The BJP bagged 18 seats in the 26-member body while it had only four in 2010. The Congress this time has been reduced to five against the 22 seats it had emerged victorious in the previous council. While the National Conference got two seats, one seat was bagged by an Independent candidate. Ninety candidates were in the poll fray and over 65 per cent votes were cast. Gain in council While the party considered the sweep as historic, Prime Minister Narednra Modi also hailed the victory on Twitter. 'Delighted at the results of Ladakh Hill Council Polls. My gratitude to people for placing their faith in BJP. Congrats to BJP Karyakartas,' the PM tweeted. 'The people of Ladakh had been taken for a ride by the false promises of the Congress council since 2010. After the floods in 2010 and other natural calamities that struck the area, the Congress did nothing for resettlement and rehabilitation of people. The mandate is a reflection of the rejection of such opportunistic politics,' said BJP national spokesperson and former IG of Jammu and Kashmir police Farooq Khan. The president of Ladakh BJP Dr Sonal Dawa hailed the victory as an approval to the several welfare programmes of the Rasthtriya Sawayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in the area and the state. 'The Welfare Society, as we call the RSS in this area, has done a lot for the people without religious considerations. Their efforts have been commendable especially in the aftermath of natural calamities and in the realm of education. They have taught people from all religions without discrimination at the singleteacher schools or 'ekal vidyalayas'. They even have sponsored bright students to go and study in universities and colleges outside the state,' said Dawa. Dawa cites the example of Chuchot seat to vindicate the claim that Muslims too have come together to vote for the BJP. The constituency has a competing proportion of Muslims and Buddhists, said Dr Dawa, but the two communities came together to elect the Muslim candidate fielded by the BJP against a Buddhist Independent. Another factor that the BJP maintains had a bearing of the poll outcome was the general perception of a 'strong' Centre that had revered the erstwhile 'sheepish' stand of UPA towards China. 'The Chinese had been making incursions inside our territory for many years, especially the pastures. Now they have stopped as the Indian Army has assumed an aggressive stance along the border. The Modi government has taken a tough stand towards China and the people like it,' said Dawa. 'The general mood in the country is that of development and Ladakh has voted for BJP precisely as they understand that only Narendra Modi can lead them on that path,' Khan added. The party had won the Lok Sabha polls last year from Ladakh constituency, the lone seat in the region, also by dislodging the Congress. BJP national vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna, also the incharge of Jammu and Kashmir, said: 'Congress is facing defeats from 2014. BJP had gone to the people of Ladakh with an agenda of development and providing a corruption free administration,' he said.