Amid the ongoing agitation for statehood and granting of constitutional rights, the BJP on Sunday appointed former executive councillor Phunchok Stanzin as the new party president of Ladakh. Phunchok will replace the party's sitting Lok Sabha member Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, who is BJP's face in the mountainous region of Ladakh.
In a communication, BJP national general secretary Arun Singh said, "BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda has appointed Phunchok Stanzin as state president of Ladakh BJP."
"The appointment comes into immediate effect," Singh said in his letter, copies of which were also addressed to the state in-charge and the general secretary (organisation) for Ladakh", he further stated.
Stanzin was working as the state unit vice-president of the party and had earlier served as an executive councillor in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh.
Namgyal removal raises many eyebrows
Although Jamyang Tsering Namgyal has hailed the appointment of Phunchok Stanzin, his removal has raised many eyebrows because he has not completed his tenure as president. Namgyal was appointed Ladakh BJP president on July 20 2020. As per the constitution of BJP, the tenure of a president is three years.
Namgyal had earned national fame after his spirited speech in the Parliament after the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K into two Union Territories (UTs).
Welcoming Stanzin's appointment as the party president in Ladakh, Namgyal expressed his gratitude to Nadda and the senior party leadership for their support and guidance during his tenure as the state unit chief.
He also thanked his team members for their cooperation in retaining power at the LAHDC, Leh for the "larger interest of Ladakh as well as the nation". Namgyal then expressed his congratulations to Stanzin and all the members of the BJP for the new leadership.
Agitation for statehood, constitutional rights for Ladakh
The Apex Committee of the Peoples' Movement of Ladakh, has already stated agitation for statehood for the Union Territory and separate Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil districts. The Apex Committee has also raised the demand for constitutional safeguard on the lines of the 6th schedule.
The Ladakh unit of BJP was a part of the Committee but later pulled out of it as the party came under criticism for "doublespeak".
Namgyal faced criticism on Apex Committee
In December 2021, the Apex Committee had taken strong exception to the statement made by Jamyang Tsering Namgyal in the Parliament on December 15, demanding an amendment in the LAHDC Act 1997 to confer a safeguard to Ladakh on the lines of the 6th schedule.
The Apex Committee members said that Namgyal's recent safeguard demand was made in the direction of BJP high command because BJP high command endorsed his statement soon after.
"We are demanding safeguard for Ladakh on the base of Indian constitution whereas Ladakh MP demanded empowering Hill Council on the lines of 6th or 5th schedule which is a wrong and misleading statement because LAHDC Act does not fall under the Constitution and people need to understand the difference between these two and we know what is right or wrong," committee members had stated.