LAHDC Polls: Apex body withdraws boycott call

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Various parties joined hands to demand constitutional safeguards for UT of Ladakh
File Photo | Various parties joined hands to demand constitutional safeguards for UT of Ladakh

LADAKH — A day after meeting the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the apex body in the Union Territory of Ladakh has decided to withdraw the boycott call for the ensuing LAHDC, Leh election scheduled to be held next month.

The apex body of veteran leaders, socio-political, religious and student bodies including the Leh BJP district president had signed a combined statement to call for a complete boycott of LAHDC polls, given the demand for constitutional guarantees for Ladakh under sixth schedule.

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The representatives from Ladakh, part of an apex body, on Sunday during a joint press conference with the government in New Delhi decided to withdraw the boycott call.

They decided to withdraw the boycott call after assurance from the government that the process to consider the demand of sixth schedule will commence 15 days after the LAHDC polls.

Addressing the media, former member of Lok Sabha, Thupstan Chhewang, said that keeping in view the border tensions and an agenda available with others to relate this boycott with that of Kashmir’s, they have decided to withdraw the boycott call and decided to go for polls in a very democratic way.

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He said the Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured them that domicile law will not be introduced in Ladakh. He said that because of the boycott call and the situation in Ladakh, the government has decided to extend the nomination date by three days to ensure participation.

“We are hopeful of the commitments made by the Union Home Minister and tomorrow Minister of State for Home is flying to Ladakh and after that, more delegations will come and we expect them to fulfil the commitment,” he said.

Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju who was present during the joint press briefing, said that the constitutional safeguard will take care of the people of Ladakh. “We will look into the provision besides that (sixth schedule) if there is anything under the frame of the constitution. Whatever is possible for the protection of people of Ladakh will be considered.”

Meanwhile, in a joint statement issued here, they stated that the delegation was assured that all issues related to language, demography, ethnicity, land and jobs would be considered.

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“A dialogue between a larger Ladakhi delegation comprising representatives from Leh and Kargil districts under the aegis of People’s Movement for constitutional safeguard under sixth schedule and Union Home Ministry would commence after 15 days of the culmination of the LAHDC election,” the statement said.

It further stated that any decision so reached in this connection would be in consultation with the representatives from Leh and Kargil.

“The Home Minister assured the delegation that the Government of India is committed to empowering the LAHDC of Leh and Kargil and would safeguard the interests of people of Ladakh UT. It would explore all avenues towards the objective,” the joint statement stated.

It further stated that the Government of India is open to discuss protection available under the sixth schedule of the Constitution of India while looking into issues related to Ladakhi people.

“The delegation agreed to withdraw its call for the boycott of the ensuing LAHDC, Leh elections and promised its wholesome support to smooth conduct of these elections,” the statement added.

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