3 Movement leaders meet Shah, others; Centre’s reaction today

Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a meeting with Ladakh leaders on Saturday.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a meeting with Ladakh leaders on Saturday.

Response to our demands positive, says Thupstan
* No nomination as last date nears

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Sept 26: With a view to break logjam over Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh elections in which the BJP has very high stakes especially as it is the first ever political battle between two arch rivals-the BJP and Congress—after Ladakh became the Union Territory on August 5 last year, Union Home Minister Amit Shah today met three senior leaders of Ladakh People’s Movement, which is spearheading the agitation for Sixth Schedule status and Bodo Council like powers to Leh and Kargil Councils, for about an hour along with other Ministers and senior officials.
After two rounds of talks in New Delhi, Thupstan Chhewang, two-time Lok Sabha member and senior leader of People’s Movement told the Excelsior on telephone that talks were held in good and cordial atmosphere and response of the Home Minister to their demands was very positive.
“They will reveal their mind on our demands tomorrow,” Chhewang said.
It may be mentioned here that September 28 is last date for filing of nomination papers for the sixth elections of LAHDC Leh. By this evening i.e. 6th day after opening of nomination papers, not even a single candidate has filed the nominations for the Council elections making the call for boycott of the polls given by the People’s Movement complete. Both BJP and Congress, the two main players in the Hill Council elections, are part of the People’s Movement.
Insiders told the Excelsior that Shah called a delegation of People’s Movement to New Delhi this morning. Besides Chhewang, Skyabje Thiksey Khanpo Rinpochey, former Rajya Sabha member and Chhering Dorjay, former Minister met Shah in the presence of Union Minister of State for Home GK Reddy, Union Minister of State with Independent charge of Sports Kiren Rijiju, Union Home Secretary AK Bhalla and Director Intelligence Bureau (IB) Arvind Kumar among others.
“We presented our view point in detail to the Union Home Minister including our major demands like grant of Sixth Schedule status to Ladakh and Bodo Council-like powers to LAHDC Leh and Kargil for empowerment of the people as Ladakh wasn’t granted the Legislature at the time of making it the Union Territory unlike J&K which was given 90-member Assembly,” Chhewang said, adding the talks were held at the initiative of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
He said the People’s Movement is hopeful of a positive announcement on their demands by the Union Ministry for Home Affairs tomorrow.
On September 22 i.e. a day after the process of nominations began for the LAHDC Leh, the People’s Movement comprising leaders of all political parties, social and religious organizations including the BJP, which presently ruled the Council, had announced boycott of the elections till the Sixth Schedule status are granted to Ladakh and Bodo Council-like powers to the LAHDC Leh and Kargil.
Meanwhile, people not only in Leh but in Kargil district also are keenly awaiting the outcome of talks between the Union Home Minister and the delegation of People’s Movement. They were, however, confident that the Central Government which has granted Union Territory status to Ladakh on August 5 during bifurcation of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir will concede their demand for Sixth Schedule status and Bodo Council like powers to the LAHDC Leh and LAHDC Kargil.
As per the notification issued by the Election Department of Ladakh, the date for filing of nomination for LAHDC Leh began 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.