Srinagar, Oct 26: Indo-China faceoff notwithstanding, BJP Monday won Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) polls with a thumping majority.
The polls were being touted as a referendum on Centre’s decision to grant union territory status to Ladakh.
The party, which initially faced opposition for failing to extend the sixth schedule of the Indian constitution to Ladakh won 15 out of 26 seats.
It is for the second consecutive time that BJP scored big in the hill development polls leaving behind Congress and AAP, which throughout their campaigning racked up the issues of Indo-China faceoff and lack of development.
BJP’s rival Congress won nine seats, while AAP failed to open its account. Two independent candidate – Ishey Spalzang from Nyoma constituency and Konchok Stanzin from Chushul constituency – also emerged winners.
BJP’s Ghulam Mehdi, Kunzang Lotus, Tsering Angchuk, Rigzen Lundup, Tsering Sandup Tashi Namgyal, Thinles Nurboo, Karma Namdak, Stanzin Chosphel, Stanzin Chosfail, Lobzang Sherab, Morup Dorjey, Tashi Gyalson, Mirza Hussain and Sonam Nurboo were declared winners
Congress’s Rigzin Tsering, Sonam Thardos, Tsering Namgya, Tundup Nurbu, Tsering Norboo, Smanla Dorje Nurboo, Sonam Dorjey Lundup Dorjai and Phuntsog Stanzin Tsepag emerged winners.
This was the first election after the Centre granted Union Territory status to Ladakh.
A total number of 94 candidates were in the fray. BJP and Congress had fielded candidates in all 26 constituencies, while AAP contested 19 seats. Twenty-three independents were also in the fray.
LAHDC polls recorded a total of 65.7 percent voter turnout. Out of 89789 registered electorates, 54257 voters including 28263 females exercised their right to franchise.
In addition, a total of 2538 cast their vote via postal ballot and 1635 via EDC vote. Sku Markha constituency recorded the highest voter turnout of 83.59 percent.
Lower Leh constituency recorded the lowest voter turnout of 48.8 percent.
Celebrations broke out in the cold desert soon after BJP won the polls.
Senior BJP leader and Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah said the victory reflects the “unwavering trust” people have in the party.
BJP National President JP Nadda said the BJP’s victory in the LAHDC elections was historic.
“BJP’s victory in Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh election is historic. BJP has won 15 out of 26 seats. I congratulate Shri @Jtnbjp and all karyakartas of the @BJP Ladakh unit. Gratitude to the people of Ladakh for their faith in BJP,” he tweeted.
LAHDC polls witnessed a triangular contest between the ruling BJP, Congress, and Aam Admi Party (AAP).
NC and PDP had stayed away from the polls.
Political parties had earlier called for an election boycott to protest against the Centre for not extending the sixth schedule of the Indian constitution to Ladakh.
Later the Centre held a meeting with local leaders and assured them of protecting their demography, job, and land rights.
BJP used the abrogation of article 370 and UT status to Ladakh as a poll plank to woo the voters. Congress on the other hand raised the issues of development and India-China face-off during campaigning.
There are different fault lines within the two districts of Ladakh. Buddhist dominated Leh is demanding an extension of the sixth schedule, but the Muslim majority Kargil is demanding restoration of article 370 and statehood.