Except BJP, all parties yet to announce candidates for Ladakh
Srinagar, Apr 3: Uncertainty continues over
the announcement of candidates as three main political parties are faced with
the challenge of picking the ‘right’ candidates for the Ladakh Lok Sabha
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has
announced 31-year-old Jamyang Tsering Namgyal as its candidate for Ladakh Lok
The young leader, who is 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.
However, three political parties – National
Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, and Congress – are yet to announce their
candidates or to support a “secular” candidate as done on two seats of Jammu
Chief Spokesperson of the Peoples
Democratic Party, Rafi Ahmad Mir said that his party is likely to announce the
“We are in touch with civil society groups
and religious groups. May be we announce the candidate in few days,” Mir said.
Senior Congress leader G N Monga said that
state party unit has forwarded names of two leaders, one each from Leh and
Kargil to the high command.
“The party command may announce the
candidate in next two days,” Monga said.
The National Conference may not announce
its own candidate but have asked two powerful religio-political organizations
to choose a candidate.
“We are in talks with the Islamia School
and Imam Khomeini Trust. If they choose any candidate then we may even support
them,” a National Conference leader said.
The Khomeini Trust, which helped Congress
win the Kargil constituency in the 2014 assembly elections, backed the party
unofficially during polls to the Council last year. The Islamia School has
traditionally backed the National Conference. Ladakh goes to polls in the fifth
phase on May 6.
The National Conference and Congress have
entered into a partial pre-poll alliance in Jammu and Kashmir. The NC has left
two seats for the Congress in Jammu while the latter has not fielded any
candidates for the Srinagar seat.
On the other hand, the Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP) has surrendered two Jammu seats and decided to support the Congress
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.