Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir’s powerful Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) polls witnessed peaceful voting with over 65 per cent turnout on Saturday.
“The voting for 26 seats of LAHDC started at 8 am and ended at 5 pm. An overall voting percentage of 65.17 per cent was recorded,” an official of the district administration told reporters.
“The figures are likely to go up as final counts from far off polling stations are yet to be finalized,” he added.
Counting of votes will be held on October 23.
There are 30 seats in the LAHDC out of which 26 are filled by directly election while four are nominated.
The majority of seats in the outgoing LAHDC were held by the Congress whose candidate was the chief executive councillor.
Candidates from Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party and the New Ladakh Movement besides independents were among the 90 candidates, including 30 women, in the fray.
Bracing up for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has accorded more powers and autonomy to its state units in deciding candidates as well as strategising for publicity and coordination.
According to informed sources, in a meeting of the Congress core committee with state presidents held on Thursday in the national capital, the central leadership asked the state units to fill up vacancies in block and district committees at the earliest besides identifying probable candidates for the 2019 mega battle in the respective states.
“Keeping in view that there will be state-specific alliances and electoral understandings, the state units have been asked to identify potential seats that can be spare for the allies. The emphasis is also on reaching out to the grassroots and build connect with the masses at booth levels,” said a party source.
The source also said that the central leadership harped on finalising the candidate lists providing ample time for discussions on seat sharing with probable allies.
Besides the national issues including the Rafale deal, agrarian distress and unemployment, the state units have also been given a say to have local issues accommodated in the party manifesto for 2019.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi has constituted a 19-member Manifesto Committee to chalk out the manifesto for the general elections.
The source also said that the state units have been asked to prepare a “charge-sheet” about the Modi government and its policies, particularly issues affecting the economy.
Gandhi has already constituted a nine-member “core committee” to supervise and organise the party’s preparations for general elections that includes party veterans like A.K. Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P. Chidambaram and Mallikarjun Kharge.
With the party persistently raising the issue of tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs), state units have also been asked to organise workshops to educate the party workers about the functioning of the machines and guard against any malpractices. (IANS)