83844 electorate to decide fate of 99 candidates in fray for 26-member Council

RATTAN SHARMA
JAMMU, AUG 26: People in Kargil District of the cold desert will vote tomorrow for 4th general elections to Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) in a keenly fought election with the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Congress trying for power and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) also in the run desperate to make a mark.
The BJP is trying its best and is leaving no stone unturned to show its presence in Kargil that is dominated by Shia Muslims. The Party’s senior leaders who have been camping in the district for over a month, have been vociferously campaigning for the election that is for the first time being held under the Governor’s rule. The party which reportedly has aligned with the sitting Independent MLA of Zanskar, Bakir Rizvi, has left 6 seats for Rizvi’s candidates. Though it has fielded 14 candidates yet it has been supporting Independents on 6 seats.
Established in 2003, the Hill Council, which is scheduled to complete its term on September 15 this year, has 30 Councillors. However, elections are being held for only 26 seats while four Councilors shall be nominated by the State Government including two from minority community and two women.
BJP’s Prabhari for Kargil, Ch Vikram Randhawa alongwith former Minister Tsering Dorjey, MLC Vibod Gupta and others have been campaigning to ensure the victory of Party’s candidates.
When contacted, MLC Randhawa, who is also camping at Kargil, expressed confidence that BJP is going to win all the seats for which the party has fielded its candidates. BJP is working extensively to secure win in the ensuing LAHDC, he told Greater Jammu over phone.
Former Minister Tsering Dorjey said that the dedicated work of leaders and activists of the party will secure the seats of candidates, which will open up the gates of strong democracy and fast pace of development in the region.
Earlier this year, the BJP had lost the prestigious Shey-Thiksey seat of LAHDC Leh in the by-election following the death of CEC Sonam Dawa. As the party lost the seat to Congress, therefore it is playing its cards cautiously in Kargil.
The Council election is being seen as a mini-show of strength in the state as it will also provide an idea as to which party will win the lone seat of Lok Sabha from Ladakh region in 2019 Parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, all other parties including Congress, NC, PDP and some independents are also campaigning for the election to ensure their victory.
A total of 99 candidates are in fray for the 26-member Council for which 83844 electors would exercise their franchise at 258 Polling Stations set up across Kargil District. Out of 258 polling Stations, 121 Stations have been categorized as Hyper Sensitive, 74 Polling Stations as Sensitive and 63 Polling Stations as Normal Polling Stations.
For monitoring the election process the Deputy Commissioner Kargil has been appointed as Election Authority and Assistant Commissioner Revenue, Kargil as Election Officer. District administration Kargil has established control room and grievance cell to monitor the elections in the DC office complex, Baroo.
Four Election Observers namely Pradeep Kumar, Bilal Ahmad Bhat, Abdul Rashid War and Rajesh Sharma are also monitoring the election process.
As per sources, 233 nominations were received, out of which 9 nominations were rejected in scrutiny. Out of 224 valid nominations, 125 candidates withdrew their nominations as a result of which only 99 candidates are now in fray for LAHDC Kargil elections.
Out of 99 candidates, 23 are from Congress, 20 NC, 14 BJP, 21 PDP and 21 Independents.
As per the notification issued by the Ladakh Affairs Department, the polling will be conducted on August 27 and counting will be held on August 31. They said that the timing of polling will be from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm.
Four polling stations including Ralakung, Phema, Shun Chumik Gylsa and Shaday required helicopter service for transportation of polling staff and Material to conduct the elections. Shaday Polling Station is the Highest Polling Station at an altitude of 13,850 ft.
It is pertinent to mention here that there is no postal ballot option for students and scholars from Kargil, studying in Jammu and outside the state.
Meanwhile, the polling material for 210 polling stations was today distributed among the polling staff from Khree Sultan Cho Sports Stadium, Bimathang for the smooth conduct of the elections.
To ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of distribution of poll materials and despatch of the Polling staff to their respective polling stations, foolproof security and other arrangements were made by the district administration.
The Observers asked the concerned to ensure free, fair and transparent election.
All polling parties of 258 polling stations including Sub Division Zanaskar reached their respective polling stations safely.
Presently, Kargil is having PDP leader Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan as CEC of LAHDC.
Though the concept of Hill Council first fructified in Leh District in 1995 on the pattern of Darjeeling Hill Development Council, it was introduced in Kargil during the year 2003. The then coalition Govt headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was instrumental in bringing Kargil District in the ambit of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council for the border development of the people of the area. In the 30 Councillors’ team, 26 Councillors were elected from the respective constituencies while 4 Councillors were nominated from the minority and women folk.
The Hill Council endeavours to register prompt monitoring of the developmental works by ensuring transparency and accountability in the district administration. Work plans are being prepared focussing at the grass root level taking the Councillors, Panchs and Sarpanchs into confidence and reviewing at the Block Headquarters in the presence of the Chief Executive Councillor and Executive Councillors.
The LAHDC Kargil has 26 elected councillors and four nominated councillors with a total strength of 30 members. The present CEC PDP leader Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan, backed by the Congress and some Independent councillors, has the support of 16 Councillors. He has been CEC since September 16, 2016.