April 2019 News

UT Demand Takes Centre Stage In Ladakh Election Campaign

15 April 2019
The Tribune
Arteev Sharma

Jammu: Even as the Governor's administration has granted divisional status to the Ladakh region, the demand for a Union Territory (UT) status to the mountainous region with a separate Legislative Assembly has again taken centre stage in the poll campaign launched by two key political players - the BJP and Congress. Though its Kargil unit does not endorse the UT demand, the Congress in Leh has jumped into the fray by openly backing the demand and has even endorsed the issue of establishing a separate Assembly for Ladakh. '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,' said Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of the powerful Leh council and BJP nominee from the Ladakh seat. Namgyal said, 'From booth to Parliament, our leaders are committed to fulfil the aspirations of Ladakhi people to have a separate UT for the region. The Congress is trying to deceive the people by making the same demand.' On the contrary, the Congress took a dig at the BJP for 'befooling' Ladakhi people in the name of UT status. 'The divisional status was a damage-control exercise by the BJP leadership as it failed to fulfil its promise of granting a UT status to Ladakh within six months. We don't believe in making false promises. We have been fighting for this issue and will continue to do so to achieve our goal,' said Tsering Samphel, veteran Congress leader who unsuccessfully contested the last parliamentary polls from Ladakh in 2014. Samphel said incumbent BJP MP Thupstan Chhewang resigned from the party and Parliament last year because he was not happy with his party's failure in meeting the expectations of people. Ladakh, with sparsely inhabited population, is geographically country's largest parliamentary seat having a total area of around 60,000 lakh sq km. The voting on the seat will take place on May 6. There are about 1.72 lakh eligible electors in Ladakh which has always witnessed close contests in the past. Ladakh, which is sparsely inhabited, is the country's largest parliamentary seat geographically. It has a total area of around 60,000 lakh sq km. The voting on the seat will take place on May 6. There are about 1.72 lakh eligible electors in the region, which has always witnessed close contests in the past.

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