The stage is all set for the polls of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council-Kargil (LAHDC-K) on Wednesday.
The alliance parties Congress and National Conference will have a direct contest with BJP for the 26 Council seats, and it is the first polls in Kargil after the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir State into two Union Territories on August 5, 2019.
However, in some Council seats, NC and Congress had fielded candidates against each other, which they described as a “friendly contest.” In the last council, the NC had 10 members and the Congress had 8.
There are 85 candidates contesting the polls, with 22 representing the Congress, 17 from the NC, 17 from the BJP, four from the Aam Aadmi Party, and 24 Independent candidates.
The NC leaders linked the Hill Council poll result with the abrogation of Article 370, saying that the result would be an indication that voters in the region rejected decisions of August 5, 2019.
On the other hand, the BJP, which had three members in the last Council, during their campaign focused on the development in the region after the abrogation of Article 370.
The poll campaign ended on Monday evening.
According to election officials, there are over 95,000 voters, including 46,762 women, who are eligible to exercise their franchise on Wednesday. They said the voting would be conducted through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which are being used for the first time in any council elections.
The officials said 278 polling stations have been set up across the Kargil district.
“EVMs and statutory material distribution for elections were dispatched to respective constituencies,” an official said on Tuesday.
Security has been beefed up across the district to ensure peaceful polls. The police, along with the central armed police force, have been conducting patrolling in various constituencies for smooth polls.
A senior police official of the union territory of Ladakh said there were no major security issues in Kargil.
The counting of votes is scheduled for October 8, and the new council will be in place before October 11.
The Hill Council in Kargil came into existence in July 2003. In the 30 Councilors team, 26 are elected from the respective constituencies, and the rest, four, are nominated from the principal minority and women folk.