In the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) elections which are scheduled on 22 October, around 89,000 people will cast their vote.
According to the official figures, about 89,776 people out of which 44,750 voters are male and 45,025 voters are female will cast their vote in 26 constituencies of LAHDC. The major three parties that will contest elections in 26 constituencies will be BJP, Congress, and AAP which will be trying its luck for the very first time in Ladakh. No state party like PDP, NC will contest election for any constituency in LAHDC elections.
In the view of the Covid-19 pandemic and to organize smooth and fair elections election, authorities have established a total of 294 election booths in all 26 constituencies. 12 Zonal Magistrates and 46 Sector Magistrates along with returning officers have been appointed in 26 constituencies for monitoring the election process. Among all the constituencies lower Leh has the maximum number of voters of about 11,281 followed by Phyang which has a total of 9551 voters. The Sku Markha constituency has the lowest number of voters of about 719 followed by Tangtse which has a total of 2,037 voters.
The total number of voters in this year’s election has surpassed the numbers of voters during the last polls by 8642. In this election, the total number of female voters has also surpassed the total number of female voters in the previous election. As per the official figures, the total female voters in 2015 were 40,276 but this time the total number of female voters is 45,025. The highest number of female voters is from lower Leh – 5,725 while the lowest number of female voters is from Sku Markha – 364. In 2015, the total number of male voters was 40,858, and in this election the total number of male voters is 44,750 which is comparatively higher than the previous election.
67 candidates withdrew their nominations on the last day of withdrawal. A total of 165 candidates had filed nominations for the elections out of which 4 nominations were rejected by the Election Commission during the examination. Out of the 4 rejected nominations 2 were rejected in Tegar constituency while one nomination was rejected from lower Leh and one nomination was rejected from Skur Buchana constituency. Out of the remaining nominations, 26 candidates will contest elections for BJP and Congress party, 19 candidates will contest elections for AAP, and the remaining 23 candidates will contest elections independently.
The Chuchot constituency has received the highest number of 16 nominations, behind it is the Turtuk constituency which has a total of 11 nominations. The least nominations of 3 are from Sakti, Khalsti, and Panamik. According to the official 10 polling booths in Chuchul and Nyoma constituency are near the Line Of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China. The total voters in both the constituencies are 2,150 and 2704 respectively. In Wazi a polling booth has been set-up for 4 voters 2 men and 2 women similarly, in 38-Gaik in 9-Kyungyam constituency polling booth have been established for 8 voters 5 men and 3 women.
According to an EC official “we are all set to organize the 6th LAHDC elections smoothly and freely during the time of Coronavirus pandemic. The timing of casting the vote will be from 8 am to 4 pm and proper social distancing and wearing of masks would be ensured”. The total active cases pf Covid-19 in Ladakh is 1,195 out of which 904 are in Leh and 291 in Kargil. The EVMs have reached Leh and postal ballots have been arranged for the people above the age of 65-years, COVID patients, and differently abled persons. Out of 3,500 postal ballots, 350 are service faculty” officials added.
With the announcement of the LAHDC elections, the EC has issued guidelines for all the candidates participating in the elections. According to the guidelines, only 3 persons will be allowed to go for the door-to-door campaigns. Only nine vehicles per candidate are allowed for the road show and at a time only 3 vehicles will move with an interval of 15 minutes.
The vehicles used for road shows can carry only 50% of the passengers and candidates are also asked to follow the guidelines issued by the Central Government in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. All the officers who will be present at the polling booth will be provided with hand sanitizers, gloves, soap, and water.
Moreover, all the officials handling ballot boxes will be provided with hand gloves. Strong rooms will be sanitized and social distancing will be followed at every step during and after the election process. During the counting day, sufficient tables will be placed in the counting hall and all the ballot taxes will be sanitized before the counting starts.