The Bharatiya Janata Party has won 17 out of 26 seats in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Leh elections.
The BJP, which had clinched only four seats in the last council elections, has never before won a majority in the LAHDC-Leh polls.
The results are a setback to the Congress, which has won only four seats, 17 less from the 21 it had bagged in the last elections.
The National Conference has, however, performed better with two seats — it had none last time. On the other hand, the BJP’s alliance partner, the PDP, has so far failed to win any of the eight seats it contested. Both NC and PDP had contested only eight seats each.
One seat was bagged by an Independent and the result of two seats was awaited till this report was filed.
Jubilant Bharatiya Janata Party members said the results proved that the party was not only limited to the Jammu region but had established itself in the cold-desert region of Ladakh as well.
“BJP has written a new chapter in Ladakh and the credit for it goes to Narendra Modi-led NDA government and the ideology and principles of BJP. The Congress and NC are losing ground after every election,” said BJP MP Jugal Kishore Sharma.
Observers say the results could help the party establish its base in Leh, as all district plans are made and approved by the LAHDC, although funds are provided by the state government.
The Congress had won both the assembly seats of Leh (three out of four in Ladakh) in the elections last December and lost the parliamentary seat of Ladakh by a margin of less than a hundred votes, and was expecting better results.
But the BJP was expected to win the elections as the LAHDC elections are contested on local issues, and the people usually vote for the party that has a government both in the state and at the Centre, as it is dependent on them for developmental funds.
The saffron party had put in its entire leadership for the campaigning, with RSS cadres also working on the ground.