Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' in Amethi on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. (Photo: IANS/AICC)IANS

To snatch the lone Lok Sabha seat of the cold desert from the arch-rival BJP, the Congress came out in support of the statehood and other demands of agitating Ladakhi people.

As the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party have announced support for Congress, the party is hoping to dislodge the BJP this time in the Lok Sabha elections.
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and Communication Head Jairam Ramesh supported the demand of the agitating groups of Ladakh.

Jairam Ramesh
Congress office

"Since February 3rd, when there was a complete shutdown of Ladakh by the locals, the people of Ladakh have been protesting in large numbers against Modi Sarkar's heavy-handed 'rule by bureaucracy,' which has made a mockery of local elected institutions. The courageous environmental activist Sonam Wangchuk has brought the agony of the people of Ladakh to national and global attention", Jairam Ramesh said.

Ramesh asks four questions to PM on behalf of the people of Ladakh

In a post on his social media account, Ramesh said there are four questions the people of Ladakh have for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

  • The people of Ladakh are demanding constitutional safeguards for the Union Territory of Ladakh, including statehood and inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Incidentally, the BJP had promised Ladakh's inclusion in the Sixth Schedule in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections and the 2020 Ladakh Hill Council Polls. Does the Prime Minister have any intention of upholding his "Modi ki guarantee?" If not, why did he make the promise in the first place? Ten years after he first took office, why is this issue still pending?
  • Since the dissolution of the BJP-PDP Government in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2018, the people of Ladakh have had no representative government at the state level. On August 5th, 2019, by converting Ladakh into a separate Union Territory without a legislative assembly, the Modi Sarkar closed the possibilities of any self-government for the people of Ladakh. What vision did the Prime Minister have for Ladakh when he declared it a separate Union Territory? Were the people of Ladakh ever consulted during the development of this vision?
  • Under Prime Minister Modi's governance, India has lost prime pastureland in the Changthang plains in the north of Ladakh to Chinese encroachment. In addition to a national security crisis, this is also a serious socioeconomic issue for the nomads of Ladakh. The Prime Minister, however, gave a clean chit to China on June 19th, 2020, at the all-party meet on China, when he declared that not a single Chinese soldier had crossed over into Indian territory. Two possibilities remain: either the people of Ladakh were lying when they claimed that their lands had been encroached upon by the Chinese PLA, or the Prime Minister of India was lying to the nation when he gave his clean chit to China. Which is it, Mr. Modi – are the people of Ladakh the liars or are you the liar?
  • The proposed Ladakh Industrial Land Allotment Policy 2023 has suggested single-window clearance committees that have only government officials and an industry representative — no Council members, no civil society groups, and no panchayat representatives are part of these committees. The document does not even lay out the environmental or cultural criteria for considering an industrial project, nor does it provide for any public consultation. In a sensitive ecosystem such as Ladakh, in a region populated by nomadic tribes and other sensitive demographic groups, what is the cynical motive that underlines this proposed Land Allotment Policy? Is it yet another attempt by the Prime Minister to favour his industrialist friends at the cost of the people?

Earlier Kharge charges Govt with attacking constitutional rights of Ladakhi people

On Wednesday Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge charged the Narendra Modi Government with attacking the Constitutional rights of our own citizens of Ladakh.
Kharge asserted that the Congress remains committed to protecting Ladakh and securing national interests at the borders.

"Modi Ki Chinese Guarantee! In Ladakh, there is a strong wave of public support, with unified calls for protection for tribal communities under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
"But like all other guarantees – 'Modi Ki Guarantee' to assure Constitutional rights to the people of Ladakh remains a colossal betrayal. It is nothing but fake and Chinese in nature," the Congress chief posted on his social media account.

Priyanka also supports agitating Ladakhi groups

On March 13, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra stated support of the demand of full statehood for Ladakh, asserting that the government should leave its stubbornness and listen to the voice of the people.

The Congress General Secretary shared a video of prominent social-environmental activist Sonam Wangchuk on her social media account.

In a post in Hindi, Priyanka said, "The BJP had promised the people of Ladakh to give full statehood but did not fulfill it. On the one hand, there is increasing Chinese occupation, and on the other hand, there is the silence, broken promises, and betrayal of the BJP government — the trust of the people of Ladakh is breaking."

Fasting Sonam Wangchuk asks government to full demands

As his fast entered its 16th day, Ladakhi activist and educator Sonam Wangchuck reminded the BJP about its promises to grant the Sixth schedule to the people of Ladakh.

"You all know that the ruling party had pledged to Ladakh to safeguard it under the Sixth schedule of the constitution, not once but twice in two major elections", he recalled, adding, "They won heavily based on those pledges in their manifestos. And today if they don't keep it and go scot-free it will set the worst precedence for all elections to come".

"It will make a joke of elections and promises based on which people trust and vote for governments so it is not just the responsibility of the people of Ladakh but yours too to add to our voice and make it reach the government", he appealed to the people of the country.