Sitharaman flays Congress for neglecting Ladakh

Srinagar: Defence Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday the Congress had not moved beyond promises for the people of Jammu & Kashmir’s Ladakh region during its six-decade rule.

“During six decades of its rule in the country, the Congress only neglected the Ladakh region,” Sitharaman said, addressing a poll rally in favour of BJP candidate Jamyang Tsering Namgyal in Ladakh.

Accusing the Congress of having made hollow promises to the Ladakhi people for 60 years, she spoke of various initiatives taken by the Narendra Modi government for the region, including a rail link and a solar park which are in the pipeline.

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The Defence Minister said the issue of rent for land under the army in the region would also be resolved. “I am not making any promises because that would violate the model code of conduct,” Sitharaman said.

“I am speaking about the initiatives taken by the Modi government for the welfare of the people of the Ladakh region,” she said. She addressed the last poll rally in Ladakh where campaigning ended on Saturday. The constituency will go to the polls on May 6.

Namgyal, chief executive councillor of the powerful Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), is facing three rivals — Rigzin Spalbar of the Congress and two Independents Haji Asgar Ali Karbalai and Sajjad Hussain.

Karbalai is backed by the influential Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust, Kargil, while Hussain has the backing of another powerful social and religious organisation, Islamia School, Kargil.

The National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are also supporting Hussain.

[source_without_link]IANS[/source_without_link]

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