Leh council polls: BJP takes home 10, Congress lags behind with 2, independent 1 so far

JAMMU: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won 10 seats, followed by the Congress and independents two each out of the 26 up for grabs in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Leh elections on Monday afternoon.

The results of 12 other seats are yet to be declared.

“By 2:26 pm the BJP had won 10 seats. It was followed by the Congress and independents two each, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was yet to open its account. There are a total of 26 constituencies and the results of 12 are yet to be announced,” officials said.

BJP’s Ghulam Mehdi won the Turtuk seat by defeating independent candidate Ghulam Hussain by a margin of 367 votes. Kunzang Lotus of the BJP won the Hundar seat by defeating the Congress candidate Stanzin Chotar by a margin of 420 votes.

BJP’s Tsering Angchuk won the Diskit seat by defeating the Congress candidate Tsewang Rigzin by a margin of 570 votes.

BJP’s Rigzen Lundup won the Tegar seat by defeating the Congress’s Jigmet Stobgais by a margin of 416 votes.

The BJP also won the Panamik and Tangtse seats by comfortable margins.

However, the Chushul seat was won by independent candidate Konchok Stanzin, who defeated BJP’s Konchok Tsepel by 309 votes.

The BJP also won the Kungyam, Korzok, Martselang and Thiksay seats.

The Congress wrested Igoo and Sakti seats by a narrow margin of 20 and 79 votes from the BJP and AAP candidates, respectively.

The BJP has managed to sweep all the five seats of the Nubra valley, which has a significant Muslim population.

The council, which has 30 seats, includes four nominated members.

The BJP and the Congress had contested all the 26 seats, while the AAP had put up candidates in 19 seats. Altogether, 23 candidates were also in the electoral fray.

Residents of Leh have been demanding constitutional safeguards under the sixth schedule of the Constitution.

Chering Dorjay, a former BJP minister and ex-president of the party’s Ladakh unit, had cautioned the Centre on September 28 about a sustained campaign in case the Apex Body of People’s Movement, an apolitical body, was hoodwinked about its long-pending demands.

The body has former BJP Member of Parliament (MP), Thupstan Chhewang, Dorjay, Rinpoche Nawang Chamba Stanzin, the head of Thiksey monastery, and Nawang Rigzin Jora, a former minister, as it’s members. It has been demanding constitutional safeguards under the sixth schedule of the Constitution to Ladakh on the lines of the north-eastern states.

The umbrella group includes political parties and religious organisations and the all-powerful Leh-based Ladakh Buddhist Association.

The safeguards will also guarantee more teeth to the two hill development councils of Leh and Kargil with legislative powers.

Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah had given an ultimatum to a delegation, which later withdrew its call to boycott the council polls.

Chhewang had resigned from his post and primary membership of the BJP in November 2018 after the Centre did not confer on the union territory (UT) status to the Ladakh region and other promises made by the ruling BJP in the run up to the 2014 parliamentary elections.

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