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Posted at: Nov 4, 2015, 1:02 AM; last updated: Nov 4, 2015, 12:33 AM (IST)

Leh council elects Dawa as CEC

Ram Madhav, Nirmal Singh, Mehbooba attend oath-taking ceremony

Arteev Sharma

Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 3

Dr Sonam Dawa Lonpo was today unanimously elected as new Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh. He is the BJP councillor from Thiksay and president of the Leh district unit of the party.

Dr Dawa’s name was proposed by his party colleague and Kungyam councillor Dorjay Motup and seconded by Sakti councillor Gyal Punchok Wangyal. All councillors of the BJP elected him with voice vote.

The election of 66-year-old Dr Dawa, a medical practitioner by profession, as the Leh council CEC followed a closed-door meeting of senior BJP leaders under the chairmanship of national general secretary of the party Ram Madhav at the Council Complex this afternoon.

It was for the first time that the BJP had come to power in the Leh council, governing the district politically since its constitution in 1995. Sources said BJP leaders deferred the appointment of four Executive Councillors to the council today. It may be held in a couple of days following consultations with all newly elected councillors of the party.

Senior leaders of the BJP, including Ram Madhav, national vice-president and J&K affairs in charge Avinash Rai Khanna, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, state party president Jugal Kishore Sharma, Minister of State for Ladakh Affairs Chering Dorjay, Member of Parliament Thupstan Chhewang and Leh council election in charge Sat Sharma held a closed-door meeting before election of the CEC and zeroed in on the name of Dr Dawa, sources said. The Deputy Commissioner, Leh, Prasanna Ramaswamy G, serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the LAHDC, Leh, convened the first session of the council, wherein all councillors of the BJP supported Dr Dawa’s name with voice vote.

In the 30-member council, the government can nominate four councillors who will have voting rights. The Congress had won five seats, the NC two and Independent one in polls held on October 17.

Earlier, the Principal and District Sessions Judge, Leh, Rajinder Sapru, administered the oath to all newly elected councillors in the presence of top leaders of the PDP and BJP at Polo Ground in Leh.

PDP president and Member of Parliament Mehbooba Mufti and her party colleague and Education Minister Naeem Akhter represented the BJP’s alliance partner.

“It is a historic moment which needs to be celebrated as a festival of democracy. People of Ladakh have again proved it with their mandate,” Nirmal Singh said.

Mehbooba congratulated people of Ladakh on taking the correct decision by reposing their faith in the state and Central governments.

“We will stand by faith you have shown and this election result has completed government in the state,” she said.

Will vigorously take up UT status issue: CEC

Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 3

Newly elected Leh council CEC Dr Sonam Dawa Lonpo today said he and his party would work hard to fulfil the old and long-pending demand of union territory (UT) status for Ladakh.

“It is a long-pending commitment of the BJP to the people of Ladakh that the region should be granted UT status. We will vigorously take up the issue with our government at the Centre. We are committed to it. The grant of UT status to Ladakh requires the approval of state Assembly. Even if the Centre accedes to our demand, it has to be approved by the state Assembly due to Article 370, which grants special status to the state,” said Dr Dawa over telephone from Leh.

Talking about his priorities, Dr Dawa said every sector in Leh, be it education, health or tourism, required focused and immediate attention. He said the newly constituted council would try its best to improve living conditions of the people.

“The recent devastating floods in Ladakh caused extensive damage to public and government property. The council will adopt a pragmatic approach to rebuild infrastructure in all affected areas,” he said.


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