LAHDC Poll: Prestige Of BJP, Cong At Stake

26 September 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Dinesh Manhotra

Jammu: The prestige of both BJP and Congress is at stake in the forthcoming elections of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh. While the Congress is claiming that the elections would be a referendum on the six-month performance of the coalition government in the state, the BJP feels that the performance of the incumbent LAHDC team would be the main issue in the polls. The BJP is trying its best to make sure that the elections be fought on the local issues so as to frustrate Congress' attempt to rake up some controversial issues. The Congress, on the other hand, is making every possible attempt to rake some state-level issues to corner its arch rival BJP in the elections. 'The elections will be fought purely on the issue of performance of the incumbent team of the LAHDC,' BJP Lok Sabha member from Ladakh, Thupstan Chhewang told The Tribune. Chhewang, who is BJP's star campaigner in the LAHDC elections, observed that local issues were going to dominate the electioneering and campaign. 'Those who are at the helm of the affairs in the LAHDC have to answer many questions,' he said, while making a veiled attack on the Congress, which has been heading the LAHDC for the last five years. To make the elections as purely a local event, the BJP has also decided to issue a manifesto for the LAHDC polls. 'Within a day or two we will release our manifesto to present our programme and agenda before the people,' he said, adding that the manifesto was prepared by local leaders of Leh in consultation with the state leadership. The overconfident Congress, on the other hand, admitted that local issues would be the main focus in the elections, but the party did not rule out possibilities of raking up some state-level issues also during campaigning. 'From the very beginning the BJP appears to be on a shaky wicket,' observed chief spokesman for the Congress Ravinder Sharma. While pointing towards the recent visit of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to Leh, Sharma said though it was an official visit, but the Union Minister seized the opportunity to campaign for party candidates also. 'From top Central leaders to top state leaders every one is campaigning for the BJP. The way the BJP has deputed its leaders, a purely local elections of the LAHDC would naturally be turned into a national event in which the prestige of entire the BJP leadership will be at stake,' he said.