BJP suffers setback, loses by-poll to Cong in Leh

Cong candidate shows victory certificate in Leh on Saturday.
Cong candidate shows victory certificate in Leh on Saturday.

Both parties trade charges

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Sept 17: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today suffered a setback when though being in power in Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, it lost by-election held for Temisgum constituency to the Congress by a margin of 273 votes.
Congress candidate Tashi Tundup polled 861 votes while BJP representative Dorjay Namgyal secured 588 votes.
The by-election was held on September 13 and counting of votes took place today. The by-poll was necessitated because of the death of Congress candidate Sonam Dorjay.
However, there has been no threat to BJP in the Hill Council as it enjoyed majority with 16 out of 30 seats. Congress tally now stood at nine while there is one Independent. Four nominated Councillors are also with the BJP.
The victory of Congress candidate comes even as it was the BJP Government at the Centre which had fulfilled long pending demand of the Leh people for grant of Union Territory (UT) status to Ladakh.
Congress UT chief Rigzin Jora told Excelsior that the people had demanded Puducherry-like UT but the Central Government gave the UT on lines of Chandigarh.
“There is resentment among the people, who are demanding Constitutional safeguards which too are not being granted. The Council is being undermined instead of being empowered,” Jora said while giving credit of the Congress victory to young team of the party which worked hard and won.
BJP UT president Phunchok Stanzin, however, said the Congress tried to make Constitutional safeguards etc as an issue but failed.
“We lost because of local issues between two villages,” Stanzin said, adding the Congress message didn’t work.
The BJP, however, enjoyed comfortable majority in the LAHDC Leh.
The Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) had last year joined hands demanding Statehood for Ladakh, Constitutional safeguards under Sixth Schedule, two Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha seats for Ladakh and adequate job opportunities.
However, there has been no further movement on the demands as the Union Home Ministry is yet to set up a Committee for talks with LAB and KDA.