Rijiju, Naqvi to mobilise Buddhists, Shias in Ladakh

Even as the BJP leadership has assigned responsibility to two Union ministers – Kiran Rijiju and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi – to mobilise Buddhists and Shias of Leh and Kargil districts, respectively, the state unit has requested the high command to organise the Prime Minister’s rally in the first week in May in Leh to ensure the retention of the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat.

Polling for the Ladakh seat will be held in the fifth phase of elections on May 6 and the BJP has fielded 31-year-old Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, who is currently the chief executive councillor (CEC) of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) from this parliamentary constituency.

“We have already urged the central leadership to arrange the Prime Minister’s rally in Leh to mobilise support for the party in this mountainous region,” state president of BJP Ravinder Raina told Kashmir Post, adding, “As of now, there is no confirmation but we are hopeful that Prime Minister will definitely spare time from his busy schedule to address a rally in the first week of May.”

Earlier, the Prime Minister had visited Leh on February 3 this year and inaugurated and laid foundation stones for various development projects.

Sources said keeping in view the demography of the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat, the party high command has assigned responsibility to Union Minister of State for Home Kiran Rijiju, who is Buddhist from Arunachal Pradesh, to mobilise Buddhists of Leh.

Similar responsibility has been given to another Union Minister Naqvi, who is a Shia, to mobilise Shias of Kargil. “Rijiju and Naqvi will aggressively campaign in the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat,” Raina said, adding that Rijiju was already present when party candidate had filed his nomination papers.

Demographically, the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat is divided between Buddhist-dominated Leh and Shia-majority Kargil districts. In the year 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP candidate Thupstan Chhewang, a Buddhist, had won the election by a narrow margin of 36 votes only. This time, the BJP has also fielded a Buddhist from this seat.

As per the data published by the Election Department, out of the total 1,71,819 voters, 85,356 voters are in the Buddhist-dominated Leh district and 86,463 in the Shia-dominated Kargil.