Tuesday, May 21
BJP’s Ladakh poster boy JTN revolts as Gyalson is named Lok Sabha candidate

BJP’s Ladakh poster boy JTN revolts as Gyalson is named Lok Sabha candidate


Leh: Facing massive public ire in the high Himalayas, the Bhartiya Janta Party today suffered an unmitigable internal revolt as its outgoing Member of Parliament refused to accept the party decision on candidate for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

After suspense for several weeks, the BJP’s central election committee announced Advocate Tashi Gyalson as candidate for the Ladakh Lok Sabha constituency which is slated to go to polls in the fifth phase on May 20. Gyalson is the chairman-cum-chief executive councillor of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council in Leh.

Barely hours after Gyalson’s nomination, the outgoing MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal went public with his disagreement and anger on the party decision. Even as he said he will evaluate the situation to take next course of action, many of his supporters favoured the idea of him contesting as an independent candidate.

Taking to the social media platform Facebook, Namgyal wrote: “Today, the BJP announced a new candidate for the Ladakh Parliamentary Constituency, replacing the sitting MP without providing transparent and compelling justification. I have communicated my disagreement to the party leadership through proper channels regarding this injustice to a dedicated Karyakarta. Hundreds of BJP activists and my supporters from across Ladakh have also voicing their disapproval with this decision. We will carefully evaluate the situation and determine our next course of action, keeping the well-being of the people of Ladakh at the forefront. I extend heartfelt gratitude to all supporters for their steadfast backing”.

Popular by his nickname JTN, Namgyal had hit the headlines in 2019 with his viral speech in Lok Sabha to defend the Narendra Modi government’s decision to repeal Article 370 and making Ladakh a separate Union Territory. Later in the evening of August 5, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared video of Namgyal’s speech on the twitter asking every Indian to watch.

The BJP’s decision to drop Namgyal comes amid resentment towards the ruling party among a section of Buddhists in Leh.

After an initial euphoria over its separation from Jammu and Kashmir and reorganization as Union Territory, the Ladakh region has been simmering with discontent against the Centre’s policies. A widely respected local reformer and innovator Sonam Wangchuk has recently led a massive public movement demanding constitutional protection of Ladakh region as sixth schedule of the Constitution of India.

A Union Territory since 2019, the Ladakh region is locally governed by the Autonomous Hill Development Council one each for Leh and Kargil districts. The Council in Leh is headed by the Bhartiya Janta Party under Tashi Gyalson while the other in Kargil is under a coalition of National Conference and the Congress.

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