NC emerges largest party; Independents hold key

Hung House again in LAHDC Kargil

PDP, BJP open account

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Aug 31: People of Kargil today again gave hung verdict in the elections held to Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil with no party able to get clear majority while National Conference emerged the single largest party winning 10 out of 26 seats, the election for which was held on August 27 and counting taken up today. All results were declared around midnight.
Congress suffered little reverses as it managed to win eight seats as compared to 10 in the outgoing Council while the PDP and BJP, which ruled the State for more than last three years till June 19 before falling apart, got two and one seat respectively. The BJP, however, had the solace of opening its account for the first time ever in the LAHDC Kargil elections. The PDP too had drawn blank in 2013 poll.
The Independent Councilors will now hold the key in formation of the new Council in Kargil as the National Conference will need the support of at least six Councilors to rule the mountain-locked district.
Deputy Commissioner, Kargil, Vikas Kundal told the Excelsior tonight that National Conference won 10 seats followed by Congress eight. Independent candidates emerged victorious on five seats while PDP got two and BJP one seat.
SSP Kargil Dr Vinod Kumar said the process of counting, which started at 8 am at Government Polytechnic College, Kargil, remained peaceful with no untoward incident. Police had made elaborate security arrangements for the counting.
In 2013 also, no party had managed to get clear majority with Congress emerging single largest party winning 10 seats followed by National Conference and Independents eight each.
As there was Governor’s rule in the State, the BJP could have a say in the nomination of four Councilors to the LAHDC Kargil, who have the voting rights. The LAHDC Kargil comprised 30 members. While elections are held for 26 seats, four others are nominated by the State Government.
The nominated candidate enjoy similar rights including voting right for determination of majority. In view of this, a party would need support of 16 Councilors to form the Council.
The National Conference candidates emerged victorious in Kargil town (Haji Mohammad Abbas), Chuliskambo (Altaf Hussain), Padum (Punchok Tashi), Parkachik (Ghulam Mohammad), Taisuru (Aga Syed Abass), Ranbirpora (Mubarak Shah), Poyen (Mohammad Amin), Thangdumbu (Abdul Rahim Akhoon), Silmoo (Feroz Khan) and Sankoo (Syed Rizvi) constituencies.
Congress won Baroo (Ghulam Mehdi Sheikh), Karsha (Stanzin Jigmat), Stakchay Khangral (Haji Mohammad Qasim), Choskore (Nasir Hussain Munshi), Paskum (Kacho Mohammad Feroz), Shakar (Zakir Hussain), Barsoo (Sheikh Ghulam Ahmad) and Bimbhat (Mohammad Shah).
BJP got Cha (Stanzin Lakpa) and PDP Shargole (Mohammad Ali Fokerfoo) and Chiktan (Mohisin Ali).
Independents won in Trespone (Aga Syed Mujtaba), Saliskote (Aga Syed Hassan), GM Pore (Aga Syed Mehdi), Lankerchey (Ghulam Hyder) and Yourbaltaq (Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan) segments.
Process for formation of new Council will start after all results are notified by the district administration, Kargil. September 5 is last date for completion of entire election process for the LAHDC.
Among the significant winners were Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan, incumbent Chief Executive Councilor (CEC), LAHDC Kargil, who retained Yourbaltaq seat as an Independent candidate and Feroz Ahmad Khan, a former Minister of State and ex-MLA from Zanskar, who won from Silmoo constituency as National Conference nominee.
Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan last time also had won the seat as an Independent candidate but when PDP came to power in coalition with the BJP, he had affiliated himself unofficially with the PDP and went on to become the CEC of the Council with the support of Congress and Independent Councilors.
Feroz Khan had won Zanskar Assembly seat on National Conference mandate in 2008 and was later made the Minister of State. He contested Silmoo seat of the Council and won.
This was for the first time that the BJP has won a seat in the LAHDC Kargil. The party had failed to open its account in the previous three elections held to the Council so far.
BJP candidate Stanzin Lakpa won from Cha constituency securing 552 votes as against 522 polled by Congress nominee Tenzin Sonam. He won the seat by 30 votes. Out of a total of 1547 votes in Cha constituency, 1103 electorates had exercised their franchise. Seven votes were rejected. NC candidate Stanzin Phentok finished poor third with just 22 votes.
PDP candidate Mohammad Ali Fokerfoo won from Shargole constituency polling 1467 votes and defeating his nearest Congress rival Mohammad Ali Shargole, by a margin of 229 votes. Shargole got 1238 votes. BJP candidate Stanzin Tarpo mustered only 154 votes.
In the outgoing Council, Congress was the single largest party with 10 seats, followed by National Conference which had eight while eight others were Independents. However, since all four Independents nominated to the Council in 2013 were National Conference leaders, the party strength had gone up to 12.
Congress candidate Sayeed Mohammad Shah emerged victorious from Bimbhat constituency defeating his nearest National Conference rival Ghulam Rasool Nagvi by a margin of 268 votes. Shah polled 1410 votes and Nagvi 1142. Independent Nissar Ahmad Mir got 991 while PDP’s Ghulam Rasool Lone polled 412 votes. BJP’s Bilal Ahmad got just 63.
Parkachik seat went to National Conference leader Ghulam Mohammad, who got 1243 votes as against Congress candidate Mohammad Ilyas’ 1183. Another NC candidate Punchok Tashi won Padum constituency polling 1083 votes while his nearest rival Skalzang Wangyal of Congress could get only 653 votes. BJP’s Stanzin Lakpa took just 418 votes.
Pashkum seat went to Congress candidate Kacho Mohammad Feroz, who polled 1392 votes while his PDP rival Niyaz Ali got 648 and NC candidate Jawad Ali polled only 335 votes.
Congress leader Haji Asgar Ali Karbalaie was elected as Chairman-cum-CEC of the Council in 2013 with the support of Independent Councilors. 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. Later, with PDP at the helm of affairs, Independent Councilor Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan, who had unofficially joined the PDP, became the CEC with the support of Congress Councilors and is still continuing on the post.
A total of 99 candidates were in the fray. There were 83,844 electorates for the LAHDC Kargil and, of them, nearly 75 per cent had cast their votes during the election on August 27.
The BJP had fielded 20 candidates and left six seats for its ally and Independent MLA from Zanskar Bakir Rizvi. National Conference, Congress and PDP had fielded candidates on maximum seats but left few for Independents.
In neighbouring Leh, BJP had formed the Council with two-third majority in the last election held in October 2015. Of two Assembly seats of Kargil district, Congress and Independent hold one each. Haji Asgar Ali Karbalaie is Congress MLA from Kargil while Bakir Rizvi, a BJP ally, is Independent MLA from Zanskar. The emergence of National Conference as the single largest party indicated revival of the party in the district, where it had won both seats in 2008 Assembly polls.