Battle for Ladakh: Can Congress-NC Challenge BJP’s Dominance in Lok Sabha Elections?

Date:

Ali Asad

Srinagar, Mar 19 : As the Lok Sabha elections approach, all eyes are on the Ladakh parliamentary seat, which has been under the BJP’s control since 2014. The question arises: will the Congress-National Conference (NC) alliance be able to break the BJP’s stronghold in this region?

As per the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the 2014 elections marked a significant turning point when the BJP secured victory in Ladakh for the first time. Historically, the Congress has dominated this constituency, winning six times, while the NC has clinched victory twice, and independent candidates have triumphed thrice.

The political landscape in Ladakh has witnessed seismic shifts, particularly following the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. With Ladakh emerging as a separate union territory without its own legislative assembly, the stakes are higher than ever before. The BJP faces the challenge of securing a hat-trick victory in this crucial constituency amidst growing demands for a separate statehood movement in the region.

Protests have erupted in both Leh and Kargil, underscoring the discontent among the local populace. The momentum of the Ladakhi movement could pose a significant challenge to the BJP’s electoral prospects. Traditionally, Ladakh has been a bastion of the Congress, with the NC also enjoying considerable support. Talks are underway between the two parties regarding seat sharing, with the NC reportedly willing to concede the Ladakh seat to the Congress. However, neither party has officially announced their candidates yet.

Reflecting on the electoral history of Ladakh, it’s evident that independent candidates have played a pivotal role, interrupting the dominance of major political parties. In 1989, independent candidate Mohd. Hassan Commander halted the Congress’s winning streak, while independents emerged victorious in 2004 and 2009. Thuptasan Chiwang’s victory as an independent candidate in 2004 paved the way for the BJP’s triumph in 2014.

The upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Ladakh, scheduled for the fifth phase on May 20, will witness a keenly contested battle spread across Kargil and Leh districts—(KNO)

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