Tuesday, May 28

LS elections: Third front emerges in Ladakh amidst pervasive embargo

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Leh: As anticipation builds for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Ladakh, a new dynamic is shaping the political landscape with the emergence of a third front.

While the candidates for the strategically significant Ladakh parliamentary seat are yet to be announced, the traditional rivalry between the BJP and Congress faces a formidable challenge from the newly coalescing third front.

The Leh Apex Body (LAB) and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), advocating for statehood and inclusion in the Sixth Schedule, are joining forces to contest the elections jointly. Internal discord within the BJP adds further complexity to the electoral scenario, with party leadership working to address internal rifts. The stakes are high for the BJP, aiming for a hat-trick victory and seeking to consolidate its position amidst evolving political dynamics. The election holds significance as it will validate the decision to revoke Article 370 and designate Ladakh as a Union Territory.

In past elections dating back to 1967, the Congress has secured victory six times, followed by the NC twice, Independents thrice, and the BJP only twice. However, since 2014, the BJP has dominated the electoral landscape, while the Congress last emerged victorious in 1996. Notably, the NC secured wins in 1998 and 1999, followed by Independents in the subsequent elections in 2004 and 2009.

In the current electoral landscape, the NC has ceded the seat to Congress as part of an agreement between the two parties.

Meanwhile, advocates for statehood, led by Sonam Wangchuk along with LAB and KDA, are contemplating fielding a joint candidate to amplify their representation in Parliament, as reported by a local news agency KNO. The names of potential candidates, including Sajjad Kargili and Dr. Akhoon, CEC of Kargil Hill Council, has been deliberated upon, although no final decision has been reached. With a total of 184,268 voters, including 91,826 women and 92,442 men, along with 1,570 senior voters, 7,462 young voters, and 1,123 disabled voters, the forthcoming elections promise to be a crucial juncture in Ladakh’s political trajectory.

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