Jammu: The tussle between the Congress and National Conference over the control of the hill development council, Kargil, is likely to go down the wire. While both parties claim to have the support of Independents, it's the nominated councillors who will play a crucial role and upon whom the NC is banking most.
The Congress in alliance with Khomeni Trust, Kargil, had secured 10 seats, while the NC in alliance with Islamia College had secured 11 seats. Five independents candidates have also been elected to the council.
The total strength of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Kargil is 26. The Congress has claimed the support of five Independent candidates. The National Conference, too, claims to have the support of three Independents, one of which, it says, is party's affiliate member.
"All five Independents have given us their support in writing. They have announced their support in public," said Congress councillor Asgar Ali Karbalie, who is also party candidate for the post of chief executive councillor (CEC).
However, the claim is discounted by NC.
"Councillors Sayeed Arman and advocate Ghulam Amir have given us in writing their support. They will vote for us during the election of the CEC," said an NC leader, wishing not to be named. He said they were elected unopposed because the NC supported them.
Karbalie says these two counclliors have given support to the NC in public.
Going by this calculation, the NC believes that it will have the support of 13 candidates, but will still need one more vote to get majority.
Both parties now claim that the final verdict will be out on the day of elections of CEC. The NC, however, also has plan B: the support of four nominated councillors, who will be nominated after the notification for the oath-taking ceremony of newly-elected councillors is issued.
"As per the agreement between coalition partners, while the Congress will have all nominated councillors for the Leh council, in Kargil, it will be NC," said an NC leader.
However, there are counter claims on voting by nominated councillors. "As per the rules, only elected councillors can vote for the election of the CEC. The nominated ones can vote only after election of the CEC is over," said Karbalie.
The NC, however, maintains that nominated councillors can vote in the CEC election. But, it also says that "if the rules do not allow voting, we can explore the option of no-confidence motion".
"Even if the Congress manages to win the CEC election with the support of Independents, whose support it claims to have, we can bring a no-confidence motion. After dissolution of the council we can elect our own CEC," said an NC leader, wishing not to be named.
The rule for giving rights to nominated councillors was amended in 2003 when the PDP in alliance with the Congress was ruling the state and the NC was controlling the Kargil council.