Curated By: Sheen Kachroo
Last Updated: October 08, 2023, 08:40 IST
The counting of votes for the elections to 26 seats of the 30-member Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil, is underway amid tight security. Voting for the LAHDC polls took place on October 4.
The hill council election in Kargil was the first local poll in Ladakh since it split from Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019 to become a union territory after Article 370 was abrogated. The new council is scheduled to be in place before October 11.
Polls in Kargil recorded a 77.62 per cent turnout. A total of 85 candidates were in the fray, including 25 independent candidates. In the council polls, the National Conference (NC) and Congress forged a pre-poll alliance. However, NC fielded 17 candidates while Congress had put up 22. Kargil division has been a stronghold for NC and Congress has remained as an opposition.
The pre-poll alliance has been restricted to areas where there was a tough contest with the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). Ladakh Council polls are being seen as a litmus test for BJP after scrapping Article 370 and demoting the former state to a union territory.
Both NC and the BJP on Saturday expressed confidence of a good performance in the LAHDC elections, a day before the announcement of its results. Last year, BJP won one seat and later allied with two PDP councillors taking the tally to three. This time the saffron party has fielded 17 candidates.
The existing council of Ladakh headed by National Conference’s Feroz Ahmad Khan completed its five-year tenure on October 1. Kargil division consists of as many as 95,388 voters with 46,762 women voters. On the day of voting, long queues were witnessed at every polling station.
Before the voting day, mock polls were conducted by the Election Commissioner. Shrikant Balasaheb Suse, Deputy Commissioner Kargil briefed the media during the mock polls that they had prepared 278 polling stations for the voting with police arrangements to conduct free and fair elections.