Srinagar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the leading party winning the highest number of seats in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) polls held for the first time after the region was carved as a Union territory on August 5 last year.
The ruling party at the Centre won 15 seats in the polls held for 24 seats in which 94 candidates were in the fray. The Congress managed to emerge victorious in nine seats while two seats were won by independent candidates.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had fielded its candidates in the polls for the first time in LAHDC, failed to open its account. The regional political parties of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir, like National Conference and People’s Democratic Party had not filed any nominations after the last year's bifurcation of state into two Union territories.
The electoral exercise in Leh was held in 294 polling stations with over 120 polling stations in far-off places. According to
official records, 89,700 voters were expected to exercise their right.
The polls were held on October 22 after the UT administration had imposed Section 144 in the territory barring Assembly of four or more persons.
The hill council in Leh was formed in 1995 to empower and encourage the local administration with designated 30 seats. Four seats which have no voting rights in the body,are nominated.
Even as regional parties like NC, which had won two seats in the previous polls, were not fighting elections this time, the BJP was expected to increase its share in the council, especially after the bifurcation move which the local representatives of Leh had been demanding for years. The BJP's share, however, decreased by three seats while the Congress party, which had won six seats, in the last elections managed to increase its footing in the council for the next five years.
Pertinently, political parties and religious bodies in Leh, including the BJP, called for an all-out boycott of the polls earlier in September after forming what they called the Apex Body of People's Movement. The alliance demanded an extension of sixth schedule for the Union territory against the fears of demographic changes after the abrogation of Article 370.
The parties later extended their support to the polls after Home Minister Amit Shah assured a delegation of the representatives that their concerns will be addressed.