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LS polls: Sixth schedule, employment key issues in Ladakh

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LEH/KARGIL: As Ladakh votes to elect its MP for the first time since the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, safeguards under the sixth schedule, statehood and employment are the key issues in the two distant districts of the constituency that is the largest in the country in terms of area.

Spread over more than 59,000 square kilometres — around 40 times the size of Delhi — the two districts of Leh and Kargil are divided by geography and religion. Buddhist-dominated Leh and Shia Muslim-majority Kargil have come together over four demands — safeguards under the sixth schedule of the Constitution, statehood, reservation in jobs for locals and a separate public service commission and two Lok Sabha seats for the region.

After the abrogation of Article 370, Ladakh, which shares its border with both Pakistan and China, was carved out as a Union Territory without legislature. While Leh welcomed the move initially, people in Kargil were unhappy about the split. However, soon the concerns over safeguards for land and jobs took over, and protests erupted.

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