Ladakh Parties Announce Boycott To Seek Constitutional Safeguard

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Leh: In a major development, the recently floated People’s Movement for Sixth schedule for Ladakh, a powerful platform representing various politicians, religious and social organisations, on Tuesday announced boycott of the upcoming elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh.

The LAHDC Leh is scheduled to go to polls on October 16 — the first such exercise in the region after Ladakh was carved out from Jammu and Kashmir and granted the Union Territory status on August 5 last year following the abrogation of special status to the erstwhile state.

The apex body of People’s Movement for sixth schedule for Ladakh, unanimously resolved to boycott the ensuing 6th LAHDC Leh elections till such time the constitutional safeguard under sixth schedule on the lines of Bodo Territorial Council is not extended to the UT Ladakh and its people, veteran politician and former Lok Sabha MP Thupstan Chhewang told reporters here.

The People’s Movement for the Sixth schedule for Ladakh was formed last month when prominent political and religious leaders, leaving behind their ideological differences, came together to demand safeguards for the Ladakh region in the form of 6th schedule and more powers to the twin hill councils, the other being LAHDC Kargil.

It is demanding inclusion of Ladakh in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution, having more than 95 per cent tribal population.

Chhewang, who resigned from the BJP in November 2018, expressed hope that the people of Leh would stay away from the polls and those planning to fight the elections will not file their nomination papers.

We are confident that we will get full support from the entire population and our struggle will continue till our demands are met, he said.

Reading out the resolution passed by the apex body of the movement and signed by a dozen prominent leaders, including president of powerful Buddhist Association P T Kunzang, Chhewang said the decision to boycott the polls was taken after a thorough discussion and deliberation by the leaders.

Besides Chhewang and Kunzang, the resolution was signed among others by former Rajya Sabha Member Skyabje Thiksey Khampo Rinpochey, former minister Chhering Dorje Lakrook, former minister and president Ladakh Congress Nawang Rigzin Jora, district president BJP Nawang Samstan and convenor Aam Admi Party, Leh, T Phustsog.

Others who signed the resolution include president All Ladakh Gompa Association Shatup Chamba, president Anjuman Immamia Ashraf Ali Barcha, president Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam Abdul Qayum, president Christian Community Dechen Chamgha and president LEAF Jigmet Paljor.

Highlighting the demand for legislative assembly, It however, said the two existing Autonomous Hill Development Councils in Leh and Kargil districts should be sufficiently empowered to make necessary legislations and rules for areas under their jurisdiction with elected representatives having the final say.

As per the notification issued by the election department of Ladakh, the date for filling of nomination for LAHDC Leh will begin on September 21, while the last date for nomination is September 28.

The scrutiny of the papers will be held on September 29 and the last date for the withdrawal of nominations is October 1. Elections, if necessary, will be held on October 16.

The counting will be held on October 22 and the election process will be completed on October 27, the day when the five-year term of present LAHDC Leh expires.

The polling will be held between 8 am to 4 pm on all 26 non-reserved and six reserved constituencies of LAHDC, the notification issued last week read.

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Press Trust of India

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