EMPOWERED, KARGIL HILL COUNCIL BRACES UP FOR CRUCIAL POLLS

Govt Issues Election Notification, Hectic Lobbying Begins For Top Posts

SPOTLIGHT

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, July 17: A day after getting the nod for more powers from the J&K government, Kargil is bracing up for the crucial elections to its Hill Development Council. The polls are slated for August 22. Hectic lobbying has already begun in the district with major political parties already in the field to garner public support to bag more seats.
 According to the notification vide no SRO 326 dated July 15, 2013, the government has called upon the constituencies to elect the members for constituting third Kargil Hill Development Council. The date of polling is scheduled for August 22 and date of counting would be on August 28. “The voting hours shall be between 8 am to 4:30 pm. The elections should be completed on September 2, 2013,” the notification reads. The code of conduct has already been put in place in Kargil.
 The notification was issued just a day before National Conference-Congress coalition gave ‘more teeth’ to Kargil and Leh Hill Development Councils by granting more powers to it like setting up of separate police range for Ladakh, ending voting rights of four nominated members of Leh and Kargil Hill Councils and granting powers to both Councils for transfer of officers other than district officers.
 The people of Kargil will elect 26 councilors on August 22. Greater Kashmir has learned from reliable sources and this time around, all three major political parties, NC, Congress and the opposition PDP would fight an open battle to garner more seats that would lay a foundation for the 2014 political battles.
 Soon after the election for 26 councilors, the government would later nominate four members—two from the principle majority and two from women folk that would make the total strength of KAHDC to 30. “All 30 members would then elect Chief Executive Councilor (CEC),” sources said. “This time, NC would give mandate to all 26 councilors to give tough fight to Congress and PDP. Similarly, PDP may also fight on some seats while Congress too will use its full strength.”
 In Kargil, the real battle would be between NC and Congress. Ghulam Rasool Naqvi, who is presently Executive Councilor for Works and Power in KAHDC, said the elections to the Council this year would be tough as all three parties would lock horns. “We believe that Kachoo Ahmed Ali Khan, the incumbent CEC of KHDC, would retain his seat. Last time, we had a tie up with Islamia School Kargil. This time, we would contest on all 26 seats,” he said.
 Naqvi, according to sources, has an affiliation with NC. Islamia School has influence over most of the Muslim population of Kargil given its history of raising voice against social evils and keeping the moral and religious values of the society intact. Sources said Islamia School has a lineage towards NC. The Congress, sources said, would receive support from Imam Khoemeni Trust.
 Sources said NC was more or less in a safe-zone in Kargil. “Chief Minister Omar Abdullah chaired crucial meeting yesterday after the notification was issued. He accepted majority of the demands of Kargil and Leh Hill Councils, which obviously would keep the NC vote bank intact in the district,” a source said.
 Sources said NC has an added advantage as it has already its representative from Kargil, Feroz Ahmed Khan, the Minister of State for Science and Technology.
 Interestingly, Ghulam Hassan Khan, who won 2008 Parliamentary polls as an independent candidate, too would be a key player in the Hill Council elections given the fact that he enjoys massive public support.
 “We had to wait for five years to see our main demands being met,” said Naqvi, a close aide of present CEC of KHDC. “This will obviously act as a morale-booster for us. The Hill Council elections would definitely have a direct bearing on upcoming Parliament and Assembly elections,” he said. Sources said once the CEC would be elected by the councilors, he would appoint four Executive Councilors with different charges related to administration.
 “The four Executive Councilors will have salary of Rs 80,000 a month while a councilor gets Rs 30000 a month,” sources said.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST




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