Fight for 6th Schedule key poll plank for Cong's Ladakh candidate Tsering Namgyal

TNN Bureau. Updated: 5/15/2024 12:15:09 AM Front Page

Leh: Congress candidate in the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat Tsering Namgyal is contesting the election on a four-point agenda for the Union territory, the key among which is the fight for implementation of the 6th Schedule of the Constitution that guarantees land and job for the locals.
The four-point agenda also includes statehood demand, a public service commission for Ladakh and separate Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil districts.
Stressing the INDIA bloc was committed to safeguarding the rights of the people of Ladakh, he said there is discontent among the populace following the failure of talks involving Home Minister Amit Shah and representatives of Leh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance over the demand for the 6th Schedule of the Constitution.
"The dialogue stopped there and so did our hope... people are now worried and angry," Namgyal said in an interview .
The political landscape of Ladakh has been roiled by nearly two months of protests led by activist Sonam Wangchuk, culminating in a 21-day climate fast. Demonstrations, commencing on March 6 and concluding on May 10 to pave the way for parliamentary polls saw a turnout of around 50,000 people, representing a substantial portion of Ladakh's population.
Ladakh's transition into a Union Territory following the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 has catalysed divergent reactions in the region. While celebrations marked the response in Leh, Kargil witnessed a contrasting sentiment marked by dissatisfaction with the territorial restructuring.
"At that time people danced and sang. Today, people are crying. People had hopes that our youth would get jobs and that ecology would be protected. But at the end of the day people are not happy with this government," said Namgyal, the leader of the opposition in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council.
The unfulfilled promises of attaining the 6th schedule status pledged by the BJP during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and subsequent hill development council elections have fueled a shift from jubilation to discontent, prompting a wave of protests throughout the region.
"People hoped for a new beginning, but the dialogue did not go the way it should have. The government delayed it first, kept it hanging till the Model Code of Conduct came into place, and at the last moment, our leaders were called for talks," said Namgyal, the leader of opposition in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council.
Citing unmet expectations regarding job opportunities, land rights and environmental preservation he alleged that there was a lack of transparency in budgetary allocation and a failure to empower the hill councils effectively.
The Congress candidate accused the BJP of fooling the people of Ladakh.
"People of Ladakh are aware... they will not believe the false promises. People will vote in favour of the four-point agenda," he said.
Namgyal remains optimistic about the prospects of the INDIA bloc and hints at a potential shift in national leadership dynamics.
Poling in Ladakh will be held on May 20. The showdown between Namgyal, BJP's Tashi Gyalson, and Independent candidate Haji Hanifa Jan can shape the region's political trajectory significantly.
The BJP had won the Ladakh seat for the first time in 2014, with prominent Buddhist leader ThupstanChhewang becoming an MP. Chhewang, however, resigned from the post and BJP in 2018, citing disagreements with the party's leadership. In 2019, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal of the BJP won the seat.

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