4th election to LAHDC Kargil in Aug; Govt announcement soon

Polling to be held for 26 seats

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, June 30: Process for holding elections to Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil was today set into motion with the district administration writing to the Government to clear the decks for holding the polling by August end to 26 seats of the Council, which is scheduled to complete its term on September 15 this year.
The LAHDC Kargil has 30 Councilors. However, elections are held for only 26 seats while four Councilors are nominated by the State Government including two from minority community and two women.
Established in 2003, this will be fourth Council to be elected in Kargil district.
Official sources told the Excelsior that five years tenure of LAHDC Kargil is scheduled to end on September 15 and therefore election to the Council could be held in the month of August. All preparations for the elections are being made.
Deputy Commissioner, Kargil, Vikas Kundal, who also happens to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Council and Authority to conduct the elections, said all preparations required for smooth conduct of elections to 26-member Council are being made and will be in place well before formal announcement of the elections process.
“Election will be held for 26 seats of the Councilors for which 256 polling stations will be set up,” Kundal said.
According to sources, the process for the elections will be formally initiated after receiving a nod from the State Government. During the elected Government, the schedule for LAHDC elections was finalized by the Minister Incharge Ladakh Affairs Department. With no Government in place now, the election call will be taken by the Governor very soon.
The Model Code of Conduct will be imposed with announcement of the elections in July, sources said.
The present Council was marred by various political controversies and saw three Chairp-ersons-cum-Chief Executive Councilors during five year tenure.
As elections to present Council were held on August 22, 2013, the verdict was hung with both National Conference and Congress, who shared power in the State at that time with National Conference leader Omar Abdullah as the Chief Minister, had won eight seats each and had support of three Independent Councilors each, taking their number to 11. Rest of the Independents were undecided.
However, with Congress insisting on formation of the Council, then Union Minister and National Conference president, Dr Farooq Abdullah had allowed the Congress to form the Council though some more Independent Councilors were ready to back the National Conference.
Congress leader Haji Asgar Ali Karbalaie was elected as Chairman-cum-CEC of the Council. However, as Karbalaie was elected as Congress MLA from Kargil in 2014 Assembly elections, National Conference virtually captured the Council by supporting Independent Councilor Haji Mohammad Hanifa Jan for the post of Chairman. With PDP at the helm of affairs, an Independent Councilor Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan, who had later joined the PDP, became the Chairman-cum-CEC with the support of Congress Councilors and is still continuing on the post.
Sources said apart from National Conference and Congress, now PDP and BJP, who were ruling the State before falling apart few days back, have also developed pockets of influence in Kargil district though the two parties had drawn blank in 2013 election.
Kargil was allotted LAHDC in the year 2003 and this would be fourth election to the Council, which has five years term.
The district administration of Kargil was engaged in making all requisite preparations for the Council elections.
It may be mentioned here that like Panchayats, there is a provision of using ballot papers and boxes for the elections of LAHDC instead of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).