Angry, betrayed Ladakh seeks apology from BJP chief Amit Shah, PM Modi

“My idea of spirituality is not devoid of politics,” Thupstan Chhewang, who recently resigned from the Lok Sabha and the BJP, stated in a letter to Prime Minister Modi and BJP president Amit Shah

Photo courtesy: social media
Photo courtesy: social media
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Ashutosh Sharma

Thupstan Chhewang, who recently resigned from Ladakh Lok Sabha seat in Jammu and Kashmir besides renouncing primary membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has debunked state party chief, Ravinder Raina’s remarks that “he quit politics in the pursuit of spirituality”.

“My idea of spirituality is not devoid of politics,” Thupstan, an influential Buddhist leader, wrote in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 18. “In this regard, I’m guided by Mahatama Gandhi: ‘I could not lead a religious life unless I identified with the whole of mankind, and that I could not do unless I took part in politics. I don’t know any religion apart from human activity,’” he asserted, stating that “propaganda by certain former colleagues has compelled me to detail reasons for resignation.”

Earlier, in a major setback to the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Thupstan had announced his resignation on November 14, on “health grounds”.

Accusing BJP national general secretary and in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir, Ram Madhav and Ravinder Raina of “repeatedly rubbing salt into the wounds of Ladakh” through their alleged thoughtless actions, he maintained that he had never met Raina since he became state party president nor did he care to meet him.

Pertinently, Raina had told media in Jammu that “He (Thupstan Chhewang) had been writing letters to the national leaders for the past around one year, expressing his willingness to quit active politics for spiritual quest. Recently, I also got one such letter, but I along with other party leaders, was requesting him to defer his decision until 2019.”

“This is far from truth,” he said in the letter, a copy of which he sent to the party chief Amit Shah as well, adding that “I’ve written several letters to the party’s responsible leaders in the past...Never have I given priority to my personal concerns.”

Referring to PM Modi projecting first time BJP victories in Ladakh parliamentary constituency and Leh Hill Council as signs of party’s growing reach in the country, Thupstan further wrote: “what was achieved five years ago was on the strength of slogans, which to the electorate would sound like empty rhetoric at this juncture.”

He recalled his repeated reminders to the Prime Minister and other senior party leaders about the polls promises and lamented that “all pleas fell on the deaf ears.”

Commenting on the BJP’s 2014 unfulfilled electoral promise that Ladakh would be made a Union Territory within six months of the party forming it’s government at the Centre, Thupstan — who started his career in the early 1970s with the demand for UT status to Ladakh — rued that “as a local representative, my position is increasingly becoming untenable.”

He bitterly regretted that false promises were made even on “sentimental issues” like inclusion of Bhoti in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India (languages).

Further, he resented the unceremonious dropping of chief executive councillor of Leh Hill Council, Dorje Motup following party’s humiliating defeat in the recently held civic poll.

The BJP won the Ladakh parliamentary and Leh council polls after deceiving people with the empty promises but its downfall has begun with the civic poll debacle, according to observers. Previously, they said, it was Kashmir and now it is Jammu which is dominating Ladakh politics. According to them, suggestions of the local party leaders regarding distribution of tickets in the recently held urban local body polls and the ongoing panchayat elections were out-rightly rejected.

As far as economic development is concerned, they said, Ladakh remained neglected under the BJP rule even when the party was part of the state’s coalition government.

Talking about their growing disillusionment with the BJP, local party activists, conceded that the party has been facing the threat of being wiped out from Ladakh’s political landscape. “Anger is simmering among the local people as they feel betrayed by the BJP. In the days to come, more leaders are likely to resign from the party posts in Ladakh,” claimed a local BJP leader, requesting anonymity.

“The Prime Minister and our party president, if they want to save the BJP here, must apologise to the people of Ladakh,” he said, adding that “In the run up to 2014 Lok Sabha elections, they promised the moon but couldn’t deliver even earthen lamps.”

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