BJP sweeps Leh elections, ends 15-yr Cong rule

JAMMU/LEH: The BJP today scripted a new chapter in J&K politics as it wrested control of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) at Leh for the first time ever, winning 18 of the 26 seats that went to the polls on October 17.

Arteev Sharma & Yangchan Dolma

Tribune News Service

Jammu/Leh, October 23

The BJP today scripted a new chapter in J&K politics as it wrested control of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) at Leh for the first time ever, winning 18 of the 26 seats that went to the polls on October 17.

The saffron party’s graph at the civic body has witnessed a significant surge from four seats in 2010 to 18 in the 30-member council--four members are nominated by the government.

The Congress, which had been ruling the council with 22 members, could only manage five seats. The party’s senior leader and Chief Executive Councillor Rigzin Spalbar lost to National Conference's P Wangdan by over 800 votes. Internal bickering and anti-incumbency are learnt to have cost the Congress dear. The National Conference managed to win two seats while an Independent emerged victorious from Diskit.

The PDP, which had refused to ally with the BJP, failed to open its account. 

The BJP and the Congress had contested 25 seats each while the PDP and the National Conference had fielded candidates from eight segments. A new outfit, New Ladakh Movement, had fielded 17 candidates. In all, 90 contestants were in the fray. 

Constituted in 1995, the council saw its fifth elections this time. It has been ruled by the Congress thrice while the Leh Union Territory Front formed the council once.

During the 2014 Assembly poll, the BJP had won 25 of the 37 seats in the Jammu region, which enabled it to form its first-ever government in the state in alliance with the PDP. It, however, had lost both the Assembly seats in Leh district to the Congress. The BJP opened its account in the parliamentary elections when it won the only Ladakh seat last year.

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