Kargil leaders
Leaders of Kargil announcing candidate for the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat.social media

Serious differences have cropped up among Ladakhi groups agitating for getting statehood and the sixth schedule for the cold desert on the issue of a unanimous candidate for the lone Lok Sabha seat of the Union Territory.

Groups of Leh, dominated by Buddhists have reacted strongly against the decision of their counterparts in Kargil to oppose Congress candidate Tsering Namgyal who is fighting against the BJP nominee Tashi Gyalson.

The opposition from Kargil's political leaders against the candidacy of Congress representative Tsering Namgyal has deepened the divide between Kargil and Leh, potentially impacting the statehood and sixth schedule agitation.

According to reliable sources, leaders in Leh, particularly those affiliated with the Congress party, are displeased with leaders of Kargil for their firm stance against Tsering Namgyal, who is also an active member of the Leh Apex Body.

Notably, both the Leh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance are jointly advocating for Ladakh's statehood and inclusion under the sixth schedule.

Moreover, the stance of KDA's Sajjad Kargili, advocating for Ladakh's merger with the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, has exacerbated differences.

Sonam Wangchuk
sceen shot of Wangchuk's video

Wanghchuk suspends his fast

Amidst rising tensions between Leh and Kargil, the 66-day climate fast led by Sonam Wanghcuk, focusing on environmental and cultural preservation, has been temporarily halted to ensure a smooth Lok Sabha poll process for Ladakh's lone seat on May 20.

Wangchuk emphasized that the pause is temporary, with plans to resume the fast after the formation of a new government in early June if Ladakh-related issues remain unaddressed. Sajjad Kargili's withdrawal from the Ladakh seat race in support of independent candidate Haji Hanifa Jan further reflects dissatisfaction with the current Union Territory setup and highlights Ladakh's demand for statehood or merger with Jammu and Kashmir.

The decision by the Kargil unit of the National Conference to resign en masse due to pressure to support Congress candidate Tsering Namgyal underscores the political complexities in the region. In Leh, Namgyal of Congress and Tashi Gyalson of BJP are competing for Ladakh's seat.

Kiran Rijiju campaigns for BJP candidate in Ladakh

Meanwhile, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju started an aggressive campaign for BJP candidate for the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat. He said that this time the party needs to work hard for the BJP candidate as certain misunderstandings have been spread.

"We are campaigning in Ladakh. This time we need to work hard for our BJP candidate here due to certain misunderstandings that have been spread. On the Kargil side, some people have spread things like all Muslims need to unite and that misinformation needs to be removed. For us there are no Buddhists or Muslims, all are dear to us," he said.

Seeking the support of the people of Ladakh for the growth and development of this region, the minister said it is imperative for the BJP to win the seat because "if we lose the elections, we will be sad as we have done so much for the region over the years".

Rijiju reminded it was the BJP that fulfilled the Union Territory dream of the people of Ladakh and ensured the development of roads, provided electricity, and improved education and health system in the region.