Buddhist leader Thupstan Chhewang quits BJP, accuses Government of not fulfilling promises made to Ladakh people

After renouncing his Loksabha seat from Ladakh and quitting BJP membership, Buddhist spiritual leader, Thupstan Chhewang has written a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, criticizing the Government for not fulfilling any of the promises made to the people of the hilly region.

The two page long letter not only reminds the Prime Minister of all the unfulfilled promises for Ladakh but also highlights the infighting and lobbyism in the Party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit. In his letter, Chhewang says that despite writing several letters to all top BJP leaders including the Prime Minister himself, all his pleas fell on deaf ears.

“I kept writing to almost all party leaders – encroached at times even upon your valuable time – and also spoke in national executive council meetings reminding all about our commitments to the region [but] all pleas fell on deaf ears and our leaders never cared to logically explain the reason for delay in executing the electoral assurances,” the letter reads.

The letter also criticizes central leader In-charge of Jammu and Kashmir, for defeat in the Ladakh Hill Development Council (LHDC) elections. While the BJP failed to win even a single ward in two municipal committees of Kargil and Lee, comprising of 26 wards, it had won just one of 26 seats in the LHDC-Kargil elections. The party even lost the Thiksay seat in LHDC, Leh to Congress, for the first time since the body was set up in 1995.

“The central party leader in charge of J&K – Ram Madhav – and the current state leadership made matters worse by repeatedly rubbing salt into [the] wounds of Ladakh. I felt that I had no choice but to keep away from their thoughtless action in our region … these [losses] are examples of the total absence of application of mind with 2019 parliament election round the corner,” the letter further states.

He also accuses state BJP President, Ravinder Raina of spreading false propaganda about him quitting politics to pursue spiritual practices. “I had decided to keep my resignation from the party and Lok Sabha low key as my intention was never to score a political point. However, I’m constrained to give vent to my feelings now, in view of the propaganda being indulged by state president Ravinder Raina about me writing letters to central party leadership ‘for the one year’ – expressing my willingness to quit active politics and opting for spiritual isolation … this [propaganda by Raina] is far from the truth,” the letter says.

“My idea of spirituality is not devoid of politics,” Chhewang writes to the prime minister. “In this regard I’m guided by Mahatma Gandhi.” He concludes his letter with a Gandhian aphorism: “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,” it further adds.

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