Polling booth in Ladakh

Only three candidates are in the fray for the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat, which is India's largest Parliamentary constituency as far as area is concerned.

Ladakh seat is the only Lok Sabha constituency of the Union Territory of Ladakh, which was earlier part of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the largest such constituency in India, in terms of area, with a total area of 173,266 square kilometres (66,898 sq mi).

Interestingly, Chandani Chowk of Delhi is the country's smallest Parliamentary constituency having 15,62,283 voters but India's biggest Lok Sabha segment Ladakh has only 1,82,571 electorates.
Ladakh Parliamentary constituency comprises 1,82,571 electorates, 91703 are male voters and 90868 are female voters. It also includes 1,127 People with Disabilities (PwDs) and 1,570 elderly electorates.

Out of a total of 1,82,571 electors, 7,030 are first-time voters and these voters are the deciding factor in the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat where polling will be held on May 20 during the fifth phase of elections.

As per the data shared by the Chief Electoral Officer Ladakh, out of the total of 577 polling stations in Ladakh 276 are critical polling stations, situated on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Out of these 276 critical polling stations, 113 are situated in the Leh district, and the remaining 163 are in the Kargil district.

Candidates on Ladakh seat
Tsering Namgyal (left) Congress candidate, Haji Hanifa Jan (middle) Kargil Democratic Alliance candidate, and Tashi Gyalson (right) BJP candidatesocial media

Only three candidates are in the fray for the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat

Three candidates are in the fray for the lone Lok Sabha seat of Ladakh. Tashi Gyalson, chairman-cum-CEC Leh Hill Development Council is BJP candidate. Tsering Namgyal, Leader of the Opposition in the Council, is a Congress candidate for the Ladakh seat. Haji Hanifa Jan, a candidate of the Kargil Democratic Alliance is backed by National Conference and Congress units from the Kargil district of Ladakh.

While the BJP and Congress candidates belong to the Leh district which is dominated by Buddhists and Haji Hanifa Jan belongs to Shia dominated Kargil district.

Senior BJP leaders including Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and General (Retd) V K Singh campaigned for the party candidate in Ladakh.

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CEO flags off polling teams

Chief Electoral Officer of the Union Territory of Ladakh, Yetindra M. Maralkar, today flagged off the polling teams to their respective polling stations.

The teams departed with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and other essential election materials to ensure a smooth and efficient voting process.

The poll for the Ladakh Parliamentary Constituency is scheduled to take place tomorrow, Monday, May 20, 2024.

This significant event marks an important step in the democratic process, allowing the residents of Ladakh to exercise their right to vote.

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The CEO emphasized the importance of free and fair elections, ensuring that all necessary measures have been taken to provide a secure and accessible voting environment for every eligible voter in the region.

The Election Commission of India, along with local authorities, has worked tirelessly to prepare for this election, implementing all necessary protocols and safety measures. Voters are encouraged to participate actively and make their votes counted.

First Lok Sabha election after abrogation of Art 370

The political landscape in Ladakh has undergone significant shifts, notably after the abrogation of Article 370, granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

With Ladakh now a separate union territory without its legislative assembly, the stakes are higher than ever. The BJP faces the challenge of securing a third consecutive victory in this critical constituency amidst calls for a separate statehood movement.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP candidate Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, who was then sitting Chairman-cum-CEC of LAHDC Leh recorded an impressive victory margin of 10,930 votes over NC, PDP, and Islamiya School Kargil joint candidate, Sajjad Kargili. Namgayal polled 42,914 votes as against Sajjad Karigili's 31984.

The 2014 Lok Sabha elections marked a pivotal moment as the BJP clinched victory in Ladakh for the first time.

Historically, the Congress has been the dominant force here, winning six times, while the NC secured victory twice, and independent candidates triumphed thrice.

In 1989, independent candidate Mohammad Hassan Commander stopped the Congress's winning streak by winning this seat.

1996 Lok Sabha elections Phuntsog Namgyal of the Indian National Congress won this seat.
 Syed Hussain of the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference won this seat in 1998.

In 1999 it was again Hassan Khan of J&K National Conference who won this seat.

In 2004 Thuptasan Chewang emerged victorious as an Independent candidate.

2009 Lok Sabha elections Hassan Khan emerged victorious as an Independent candidate.

In 2014, the Ladakh parliamentary constituency had a total of 1,66, 763 electors. Out of these valid votes, 1,18, 029 cast their votes. BJP candidate Thupstan Chhewang won this seat by a margin of just 36 votes. He secured a total of 31,111 votes while as an Independent candidate, Ghulam Raza stood second with a total of 31075 votes.

Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, a young leader became a Lok Sabha member from this seat as a candidate of the BJP in 2019.