Over 60 Pc Polling In Kargil Council Election

Over 60 Pc Polling In Kargil Council Election

22 August 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ehsan Fazili

Kargil: Barring stray incidents of violence in which polling was suspended for a few minutes in a polling station near here, voting for 24 constituencies of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Kargil, passed off peacefully today. Preliminary reports said more than 60 per cent of polling was recorded from various parts of the Kargil area. The reports from the far-flung area of Zanskar were yet to arrive. The ballot boxes from Kargil and its adjoining areas were being deposited at the District Institute of Education (DIET) till late in the evening. The Election Authority and Deputy Commissioner, Kargil, Fida Hussain, said the overall polling was held peacefully, barring stray incidents of violence. One incident took place at a polling booth in the Drass area. Another incident occurred at a polling station near here, leading to suspension of the polling for a few minutes. The polling in these stations was, however, held peacefully. Kargil SP Sujit Kumar thanked the people of the district for maintaining peace and calm and participating wholeheartedly in the polling. He also thanked the higher authorities for providing adequate security personnel for the smooth conduct of the elections today. The counting of votes will be held at the district headquarters on August 28. The ballot boxes from Kargil and its adjoining areas are being kept under tight security here. The ballot boxes from distant areas of Zanskar would be reaching the central place of Zanskar within the next few days. The boxes would be transported under tight security to Kargil before the date of counting, officials here said. Meanwhile, normal traffic resumed and shops and business establishments reopened in the afternoon soon after the polling was over. Candidates in the fray The sitting MP of the ruling National Conference representing the Ladakh constituency and three other members of the last LAHDC, Kargil, are among the prominent candidates whose fate was locked by voters in today’s elections in the border district. The National Conference MP, Ghulam Hassan Khan, is contesting from the Silmo constituency. The NC has an alliance with the local Islamia School Kargil for the LAHDC elections. The Silmo constituency witnessed a four-cornered contest with Ghulam pitted against Niaz Ali Khan of the Congress, Kulsoom Bee of the PDP and Mohammad Hussain, an Independent candidate. Ghulam is the only senior-level leader contesting the elections; no other state-level leader is in the fray. The NC’s poll alliance party, Islamia School Kargil, has fielded its prominent leader Asghar Ali Karbalai. Former Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of the LAHDC, Kargil, Kachoo Ahmad Ali Khan is contesting again in these elections. The Congress has put up its prominent and upcoming leader Nasir Munshi for the contest. The PDP has fielded eight candidates and the BJP has 12 candidates in the fray. NO fear Despite the recent incidents of cross-border shelling, polling stations across Kargil district attracted youth and women in large numbers. The firing did not deter voters in the Kaksar area, about 20 km from here, which had faced shelling from across the border during the past few days. Cross-border firing has been reported from the area after a gap of over 14 years since Kargil War in 1999. “The voters have been coming in small numbers to the polling stations for security reasons,” said Haji Ali, a sarpanch. “Voting is our democratic right and we will fulfil it,” he added. Youth for honest leaders The awareness about powers of local representatives in the LAHDC for the overall development of the district brought a large number of voters from their different places of work and study centres outside Ladakh for Thursday’s voting. StudentsVoters standing in a queue to cast their vote in Tumail, near Kargil. studying in Srinagar, Jammu and Chandigarh formed a long queue at one of the polling stations at Poyen, near Kargil. “We want to vote for those who would really work for the people in general. It is a precious vote and is to be utilised properly to elect honest and educated persons,” said Nazir Hussain, a young voter. A first: Woman candidate A number of enthusiastic voters, including women, were standing in queues since 6 Women voters display their voter I-cards in Kargil. am, two hours before the beginning of the polling at 8 a.m. “We want that educated girls should come forward and work for our rights and powers,” said one of the women voters. She said there was need for empowerment of women which could be possible only by educated women coming forward to contest the elections. Incidentally, only one woman candidate, Kulsoom Bee from the PDP, has contested the council elections for the first time.