ISK supports Independent; NC, PDP undecided on Ladakh seat

Union MoS Home Kiren Rijiju, BJP leader Avinash Rai Khanna and CEC Jamyang Tsering Namgayal raise hands after filing nomination papers in Leh on Tuesday. —Excelsior/Morup Stanzin
Union MoS Home Kiren Rijiju, BJP leader Avinash Rai Khanna and CEC Jamyang Tsering Namgayal raise hands after filing nomination papers in Leh on Tuesday. —Excelsior/Morup Stanzin

CEC joins fray, Rijiju claims Modi wave

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Apr 16: Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju today said the BJP was committed to implement its manifesto pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir after coming to power again and declared that Modi wave was sweeping the country as he joined BJP candidate for Ladakh, Jamyang Tsering Namgayal, Chairman-cum-CEC for Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh to file his nomination papers today.
“Whatever has been said in the BJP manifesto for Jammu and Kashmir will be implemented after the BJP comes to power,” Rijiju said, adding that there was massive wave across the country in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. I’ve contest five elections and this is my sixth poll. I’ve never seen such a wave, which is presently in favour of Modi,” Rijiju, who is BJP candidate from Arunachal Pradesh, said.
Asserting that casting vote in favour of Congress in Ladakh will be just wasting your right, the Union Minister of State for Home called upon the people to vote en-masse in favour of the BJP and make Namgayal victorious with a thumping margin to carry forward the journey of development for Ladakh seat initiated by Narendra Modi.
Describing Ladakh as an important part of Jammu and Kashmir as well as India, Rijiju said Modi Government has done lot of development in the region and assured that more development will follow.
He added that Jamyang should win for more development in the region.
Earlier, the BJP workers took out a massive rally in the town to accompany Namgayal to the office of Returning Officer, Avny Lavasa, the Deputy Commissioner, Leh in Ladakh to file nomination papers. Dorji Angchuk filed nomination papers as covering candidate for Namgayal.
BJP national vice president and Incharge Jammu and Kashmir, Avinash Rai Khanna also accompanied Namgayal in filing papers.
Congress candidate for Ladakh Rigzin Spalbar has already filed his nomination papers.
Meanwhile, there were reports that Islamiya School of Kargil (ISK) was backing the candidature of Sajjad Kargili for Ladakh Parliamentary seat. A senior Congress leader from Kargil was also being supported by some of the party leaders as well as some religious organizations to join the fray as an Independent candidate. However, things would be clear on April 18, which is last date for filing of nomination papers for Ladakh seat, which will go to polls in fifth phase on May 6.
The National Conference, which yields considerable influence in Kargil district and some parts of Leh besides the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which had opened its account in last year’s election to Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Kargil, are yet to announce their candidates for Ladakh constituency.
Sources said Kargil leadership of National Conference was engaged in hectic activity to finalize the candidate or extend support to an Independent and a decision was expected either by tomorrow or a day after.
Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust (IKMT), another powerful religious organization of Kargil hasn’t yet announced support to any of the candidates.
BJP had won Ladakh seat for the first time in 2014 when Thupstan Chhewang had emerged winner with a margin of just 32 votes defeating an Independent candidate. Chhewang had earlier won Ladakh seat in 2004 as an Independent candidate.
However, Chhewang had last year resigned from the BJP as well as Lok Sabha membership following differences with the party leadership. He hasn’t been campaigning for the BJP this time.
However, the Governor’s administration had granted divisional status and Cluster University to Ladakh, thus, fulfilling two long pending demands of the region and there were reports that the BJP could rake up the issue for grant of Union Territory status to Ladakh once again. In 2014 election, the BJP had promised Union Territory to Ladakh.
BJP was planning to field Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister for Surface Transport, Nitin Gadkari, Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju and Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for campaigning in Ladakh while Congress veteran and Leader of Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad, National Conference president, Dr Farooq Abdullah and vice president, Omar Abdullah and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti were also likely to join the campaigning for Ladakh seat.