People in Leh district of Ladakh are going to polls today to elect their representatives for Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh.
Thursday's election for the LAHDC Leh will be the first major electoral exercise in the post-Covid period and will test new standards and features for other states to follow.
Official sources told Greater Kashmir that 89,776 electors, 44,750 male and 45025 females, will exercise their franchise in 26 constituencies of LAHDC Leh.
The voters will use EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) for the first time in such elections in Leh.
To ensure the smooth and hassle-free polling, the authorities have established 294 polling booths in all 26 constituencies. Besides the Returning Officer, the entire polling exercise will be monitored by 12 Zonal Magistrates and 46 Sector Magistrates.
Among all the 26 constituencies, Lower Leh has the highest number of 11,281 voters followed by Phyang which has 9551 voters while the SkuMarkha constituency has the lowest number of 719 electorates.
Officials said there has been an increase of 8642 voters in last five years. Last time there were total 81134 voters which have now increased to 89776.
Meanwhile, there are 94 candidates in fray for all 26 constituencies in Leh including 26 each from BJP and Congress, 19 candidates of AamAadmi Party (AAP) and 23 Independents.
According to political analysts although the main contest is between BJP and Congress in all the 26 council constituencies, however the entry of AAP in 19 council constituencies has made it a triangular contest on those seats.
The ruling BJP is highlighting that the BJP government granted Union territory status to Ladakh which was a long pending demand from the people and several developmental works have been carried during the present regime.
On the other hand congress is fighting the elections on the demand that the Ladakh union territory should be granted 6th schedule for protection of the land, job rights besides the two councils should be made powerful. The new entrant AAP also demands 6th schedule for Ladakh.
Talking to the Greater Kashmir Deputy commissioner LehSachin Kumar Vaishya who is also the district election officer said that all required arrangements have been made to ensure free and fair conduct of polls.
He said that to ensure compliance of COVID19 guidelines the election authorities have decided to mobilize adequate number of vehicles for movement of polling and security personnel.
This time the Government has decided to designate Nodal Health Officer for the constituencies to oversee COVID19 related arrangements and preventive measures during entire electoral process. Moreover, gloves will be made available to each official handling ballot boxes.
The Strong Rooms will be sanitized, social distancing and other safety norms have to be followed for each activity. During counting adequate number of tables will be put in counting hall, carrying cases of ballot boxes will be sanitized before placing over counting tables and counting centers will be disinfected before, during and after the counting.