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Ladakh votes for safeguards under 6th Schedule, statehood

05:01 AM May 21, 2024 IST | Irfan Raina
ladakh votes for safeguards under 6th schedule  statehood

Kargil, May 20: Ladakh Union Territory saw massive enthusiasm among voters as the lone parliamentary constituency went to polls on Monday in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha polls 2024.


The parliamentary constituency recorded 67.15 percent polling till 5 pm with Kargil district's highest 71.45 percent followed by Leh district with 62.5 percent, although the poll percentage has been slightly less than the previous Lok Sabha elections. Ladakh witnessed 71.05 percent turnout in the 2019 general election.


The Ladakh parliamentary constituency, the largest in the country in terms of area, has over 1.84 lakh voters, of which a majority of 95,926 electorates are in the Kargil district and 88, 877 are there in the Leh district.


There were three candidates in the fray for the Ladakh parliamentary constituency including BJP’s Tashi Gyalson, Congress’ Tsering Namgyal and independent candidate Hanifa Jan.


Since early morning, long queues of men and women including young and old were witnessed at several polling stations in Leh and Kargil to cast their votes with enthusiasm.


Lieutenant Governor Ladakh Brig (Retd) B D Mishra and his wife Neelam Mishra were among those who cast their votes at a polling station in Skara Yokma in Leh.


Well-known climate activist Sonam Wangchuk, who was in the news recently for leading a 66-day sit-in protest in Leh over demands such as safeguards under the 6th Schedule for Ladakh and statehood, cast his vote in Leh’s Ulyak topo polling station.


Many voters particularly youngsters said that they voted for the safeguards of Ladakh, development and employment opportunities for youth.

“It is my first vote and I feel proud while exercising my right to vote. It is the power to make our future better and choose our representatives who can raise our voices,” said Iftikhar Hussain, a first-time voter in Latoo village near LoC in Kargil.

Another voter, Muhammad Ali said that the bigger issues this time were protection of their land, environment, and culture besides jobs.

Suhail Ahmad, another first-time voter from Pashkum village in Kargil, asked youth to cast their votes to secure their future and participate in the democratic process.

Many elderly people also thronged the polling stations to cast their votes.

Despite facing health issues, 95-year-old Fida Hussain from the border village Karkit Badgam cast his vote, demonstrating his commitment and strong belief in the democratic process.

Upholding his democratic right, a 93-year-old voter Ghulam Rahim, who is in the geriatric stage, cast his vote at PC 315 Throungus, Drass.

As a mark of goodwill gesture, the PwDs and senior citizen voters of Kargil were presented with small gifts on behalf of the ECI as an honour to them.

The PwD voters were overwhelmed by the pick-and-drop facility provided by the Kargil and Leh district administrations, enabling them to cast their votes by ensuring the ECI's motto that no voter should be left behind.

Returning Officer for 01-Ladakh Parliamentary Constituency Santosh Sukhadeve told Greater Kashmir that the elections were held smoothly and in a peaceful atmosphere.