BJP, Rizvi enter into alliance; will contest 20 & 6 seats

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Aug 1: The BJP today formally entered into an alliance with Independent MLA from Zanskar Bakir Hussain Rizvi’s Group for elections to 26-seat Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil under which the BJP will field candidates for 20 seats and Rizvi six.
The agreement was reached after lot of discussion between State BJP leadership and Rizvi and his colleagues.
BJP MLC Vikram Randhawa, who is camping in Kargil, led the talks from the BJP side.
Giving details of the agreement, sources told the Excelsior that BJP will contest all 17 seats of Kargil Assembly constituency. Of nine seats of Zanskar Assembly segment, BJP will field three candidates while rest of six seats will be contested by the Rizvi’s Group by fielding Independent candidates as Rizvi doesn’t have a recognized political party.
When approached, Randhawa confirmed the alliance and seat sharing agreement saying the BJP has agreed to leave six seats for Bakir Rizvi’s Group. It may be mentioned here that Rizvi, who had won Zanskar Assembly seat as an Independent candidate in 2014 Assembly elections remained affiliated with the PDP till April 2017 when he switched sides and has now sided with the BJP.
It was Bakir Rizvi’s crucial vote, which had resulted into surprise victory of Vikram Randhawa in March-April 2016 Legislative Council elections and led to defeat of PDP’s nominee.
Meanwhile, nominations today open for elections to all 26 seats of the LAHDC Kargil. The candidates can file nomination papers till August 8. However, no candidates filed nomination papers on the opening day today.
Scrutiny of the nominations will take place on August 9 while candidates can withdraw their nomination papers till August 11. Polling will be held from 8 am to 4 pm on August 27 and counting will take place on August 31. Entire election process for the Council will be completed by September 5.
The LAHDC Kargil has 30 seats but the election is held for 26 seats. Four Councilors are nominated by the State Government and they too have the voting rights in all matters of the Council including confidence or no confidence motion.
It will be a one day voting for all 26 seats.
This is fourth election of the LAHDC Kargil, which has five years term. First three elections were held in 2003, 2008 and 2013.
The outgoing Council had fractured mandate with neither National Conference nor Congress gaining majority.
In view of fractured mandate, the Council was marred by various political controversies and saw three Chairpersons-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 unofficially joined the PDP, became the Chairman-cum-CEC with the support of Congress Councilors and is still continuing on the post.