The results of the elections to the 26-member Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil, have come as a severe jolt to the BJP that could win only one seat despite a high-profile campaign. The results of the LAHDC polls were equally embarrassing for the PDP that managed to get only two seats.
The election has come as a shot in the arm for the National Conference (NC) and the Congress that won 10 and eight seats, respectively, despite the BJP sharing six seats with an influential Shia Muslim sitting MLA Baqir Rizvi in a bid to capture power in the cold desert region. Independents got five seats.
Counting of votes that began on Friday was completed in the early hours of Saturday.
There were 99 candidates in the fray for the 26 seats and the polling was held on 27 August. The number of total electorate is 83,844, and 75 per cent of them exercised their franchise.
The BJP has won the lone seat of Cha with a very thin margin of 30 votes. Prime Minister Narendera Modi had recently addressed the region here after laying foundation for the Rs 6809 crore Zojila tunnel project to provide round the year road connectivity to Kargil.
Expressing satisfaction over the performance of the NC, party chief and MP Farooq Abdullah thanked the electorate of Kargil. Speaking to The Statesman, he said the “divide and rule policy of BJP” had failed to work in the region. “The NC would leave no stone unturned for development of Kargil,” Abdullah added.
Political observers believe the Kargil LAHDC election might be a turning point as the BJP had for the first time won the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat in the last elections though with a very thin margin.
Both the PDP and the BJP, which broke their alliance a couple of days before the LAHDC went to polls, performed very badly in Kargil.
A section of the BJP, however, expressed satisfaction as it managed to open its account in the council by winning the single seat.
The BJP, after losing the Shey-Thiksey seat of Leh’s LAHDC in the byelection earlier this year, had aligned with the sitting MLA of Kargil district and other influential figures to capture the Kargil LAHDC.