What is the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council?
LAHDC-Leh has a total of 30 seats of which four councillors are nominated by the government. Elections for 26 councillors were held on October 22.Updated: Oct 26, 2020, 18:46 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday won 15 seats and the Congress won nine seats in the elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC). The remaining two seats have been won by Independent candidates. The elections on 26 seats of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council election were held on October 22 and the counting took place on Monday.
Here’s a look at the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council which manages the local governance issues of the newly-carved Union territory and the elections that happened:
1. The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh is an autonomous district council that administers the Leh district of Ladakh. The council was created under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act of 1995. The council came into being after holding the first elections on August 28, 1995.
2. On October 22, the sixth Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Leh polls were conducted. LAHDC-Leh has a total of 30 seats and four councillors are nominated by the government. An electorate of 89,776 including 45,025 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise in 294 polling stations spread over 26 constituencies across Leh district.
3. In the first democratic exercise after Ladakh became a Union territory last year, 94 candidates were in the fray. Besides Congress and the BJP, which both fielded 26 candidates each, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also fielded 19 candidates for the first time, while the remaining 23 are Independent contestants. The regional parties including the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stayed away from the election.
4. Since 1995, the council has always been ruled by one party. Congress had swept the polls thrice, while the Ladakh Union Territorial Front had won the elections in 2005. The BJP took control of the council from Congress for the first time in the last elections by winning 18 out of 26 seats.
5. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the voter turnout was 65.07 per cent as 89,789 voters cast their ballot. For the first time, electronic voting machines (EVMs) were used for polling.
6. Leh, which is a Buddhist-dominated district of Ladakh, has demanded the implementation of the sixth schedule for the Union territory to guard against demographic change and dilution of the unique cultural and tribal identity.
7. During the poll campaign, the BJP promised a list of developmental activities including a new medical college, central university, and developmental packages. Congress promised the implementation of the sixth schedule. The AAP promised a Delhi-like development model for the UT.
8. The election was important for the BJP as it had to prove its popularity in view of the Union territory status granted to Ladakh on August 5 last year. A win for the BJP will also mean huge support for the party at a time of standoff with the Chinese army in the region.