Blow for BJP as Ladakh MP Thupstan Chhewang quits party, Parliament

In a major setback to the BJP in the Ladakh region ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for next year, the party’s lone Lok Sabha member and its tallest leader Thupstan Chhewang on Thursday resigned from both the primary membership of the saffron party and as Member of Parliament.
The BJP, however, claimed that he had resigned from active politics because he wanted to join spiritualism.

In his resignation letter, widely circulated on the social media, addressed to state BJP president Ravinder Raina, Chhewang said he was resigning from the primary membership of the party on health grounds and had also written to the Lok Sabha Speaker to tender his resignation from the MP seat.

Meanwhile, Thupstan Chhewang could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.

Meanwhile, state BJP president Ravinder Raina said he had not received the resignation but confirmed that Chhewang had expressed his desire to quit active politics a year ago.

“What I have learnt is that he has resigned from active politics. About a year ago, he had told the party leadership that he wanted to quit active politics as he wanted to join spiritualism. It is not that he has resigned from the BJP and will join any other party,” Raina claimed.

Sources in Ladakh, however, claimed that Chhewang was not happy with the Centre and the state government’s approach towards the Ladakh region. He had openly resented the party’s decision to form an alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party.

Sources said Chhewang had not campaigned for the party candidates in the recently held urban local bodies polls in Ladakh. The BJP failed to open its account in both Kargil and Leh districts in the civic polls.

“We had great expectations from the party (BJP) that it would do something positive on the abrogation of Article 370 but the way the issue has been pushed to the backburner, it will cost us heavily as it will be difficult to face our own people in next general election,” Chhewang had told Kashmir Post in March this year.

Chhewang was the first leader of the BJP from Ladakh who won the Ladakh parliamentary seat in 2014. He was elected for the second time. Earlier, he was elected as an MP from the seat as an Independent candidate in the 2004 parliamentary elections. He is the former patron of the Ladakh Union Territory Front — a conglomerate of political parties in Ladakh whose objective was to fight for the UT status for Ladakh.