With the announcement of the LAHDC elections, all the major parties have started their campaigns in Ladakh to make a remarkable win in the elections. While all the major parties are adopting different strategies Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is using its Union Ministers to hold campaigns and to attract maximum voters to their side.
BJP is fully confident for the elections and is sending their central ministers to show the voters how much they are concerned for the LAHDC elections. BJP is going out to retain its control over the LAHDC which the party had won in 2015 by sharing power with regional party People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
BJP has sent its 4 Union leaders in the last 17 days to organize campaigns for elections in Ladakh. The total voters that will cast their votes are 89,000. The constituencies are small with few voters. 1 seat has only 719 voters.
The main leaders that were sent by BJP to Ladakh were the Minister of Minor Affairs Mukthar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State for youth services and sports Kiren Rijiju, and Anurag Thakur Union Minister for finance and corporate affairs. The 2-day stay at Ladakh by the minister of state for home G.Krishna Reddy in the last week of September was also a part of BJP’s election strategy. Reddy stayed in Ladakh to console the locals who were angered over the Center’s decision to give special status to Ladakh and to form a new Union Territory under the sixth schedule of the Constitution.
According to the sources, for the very first time, central ministers are coming for campaigns for any party in the elections. Union Ministers never come to Ladakh during the Hill Council elections.
They mostly come for campaigns during the LokSabha Elections. According to Nawang Rigzin Jora, President of the Ladakh Territorial Congress the LAHDC elections is a fight between a local unit of Congress and the might of the Central Government of India.
The BJP is facing ups and downs because people here are against the BJP because there are no safeguards for the jobs, plan, and culture and people of Leh will fight for their rights and that is why BJP is sending its Union Ministers for campaigns.
According to the Locals in the last months, victory was into the hands of BJP as BJP has fulfilled the longstanding demand of people for granting Union Territory status to Ladakh but the political dynamics completely changed in the region after all the political parties and religious groups joined hands together to restore the special status of Ladakh under the sixth Schedule.
All the regional parties and religious groups against the BJP formed a committee named Apex Committee for Sixth Schedule for Ladakh announced that it would boycott the polls until the special status of Ladakh under the sixth schedule is restored. The BJP’s Leh district President also joined the committee and demanded to restore the special status of Ladakh but BJP’s General Secretary of J&K and Ladakh Ashok Koul called the boycott as Nonsense, which caused protests and shut down in the region.
Later Ashok Koul claimed that his statement was twisted and he supports the people of Leh in their demands. These protests and shutdowns forced the leaders to discuss the situation with leaders at News Delhi. On 26 September 2020 leaders from Leh had a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the current situation. On the next day, the groups withdrew their protests as the Center assured them that the center will look into the matter related to their issues related to language, demography, ethnicity, and the job and will surely take action immediately and accordingly.
The Center’s assurance to the people of Ladakh may have managed to calm the political crisis to some extent but the party’s problems are not ending. The distribution of tickets has raised troubles with its ranks and many leaders who were not happy with the ticket distribution have left the party.
According to the sources, a meeting between the Apex committee and Union home ministry would take place 15 days after the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council elections. According to BJP’s General Secretary Ashok koul BJP will win elections with more than 20 seats as ministers of BJP had campaigned similarly during the 2015 elections.
BJP is facing a tough challenge from Congress, independents, and Aam Aadmi Party in these elections. The entry of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party which is trying to make its position is also adding competition in this election battle. The party is gaining public support and could win a seat from Leh. The main contender for these elections will be BJP and Congress but independents could also take away a few seats.