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Down by three, BJP wins 15 seats in LAHDC-Leh polls

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Congress wins 9 seats, independents 2

Srinagar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) registered a win in the 6th Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh general council elections on Monday by winning fifteen seats, three down in comparison to its 2015 victory.

The elections were held on October 22 and counting of votes was held today.

An election official said that the BJP won 15 of the 26 constituencies. The Congress has won nine, while the remaining two have been grabbed by two Independent candidates.

Officials said that the counting of votes has ended.

A total of 94 candidates including 26 each from BJP and Congress, 19 from AAP and 23 independents were in fray for 26 council constituencies of LAHDC-Leh.

LAHDC-Leh has a total of 30 seats and four councilors are nominated by the government.

The BJP managed to win most of the far-off seats outside the Leh town, including six out of seven seats of the remote Nubra valley. Two Muslim faces, Ghulam Mehdi from Turtuk, and Mirza Hussain from Chuchot, were among the BJP winners.

In Khaltsi, BJP’s Lobzang Sherab defeated Jigmet Rabgais of the Congress with a thin margin of nine votes. However, in Chuchot, BJP’s Hussain defeated an independent candidate Sayeeda Bano by a margin of 735 votes.

Tsering Namgyal of the Congress defeated BJP’s P. Wangdan with the highest margin of 1,116 votes in Lower Leh.

The constituencies won by the BJP included Turtuk, Panamik, Tegar, Hunder, Diskit, Tangtse, Kungyam, Sku Markha, Thiksey, Korzok, Lingshed, Lamayuru, Martseylang, Khaltse and Chuchot.

The seats won by the Congress included Lower Leh, Upper Leh, Igoo, Saspol, Basgo, Sakti, Phyang, Skurbuchan and Temisgam. Chushul and Nyoma were two seats won by the independent candidates.

“First major victory for BJP in UT Ladakh. BJP won 15 out of 26 seats in the Leh Autonomous District Council elections. Congrats team BJP, Ladakh UT,” tweeted BJP leader Ram Madhav.

However, BJP is down by three seats compared to the 2015 polls when it won 18 out of 26 seats.

Around eight BJP Union ministers campaigned for the council polls of Leh, with a population of 1.33 lakh.

The campaign for the polls was dominated by the demand for the Sixth Schedule status to protect local demography, jobs and land and legislative powers to the LAHDC-Leh. The BJP has backed the demand to grant a fresh special status to the region.

It was the first ever polls conducted for the council since Ladakh was carved out as a Union Territory (UT) last year. The polls, in which electronic voting machines (EVMs) were employed for the first time, were held in the backdrop of the India-China border face-off and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It was also for the first time that no National Conference (NC) or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) participated in the elections. Meanwhile, the new entrant Aam Aadmi Party failed to bag any seat in the region.

Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Member Parliament and BJP president in Ladakh, in a tweet, said, “The BJP will form LAHDC-Leh once again.”

Since the formation of the hill council in 1995, the Congress had swept the polls thrice, while the Ladakh Union Territorial Front had won the elections in 2005.

The BJP wrested control of the council from Congress for the first time in the last elections by winning 18 out of 26 seats.

Kargil district of Ladakh had a separate hill council which was elected in 2018 for a five-year term.

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