Around 70 Per Cent Electorates Cast Votes In LAHDC Leh Polls16 October 2010
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Putting behind the massive devastation, which had rocked the district about two and half months back, the people of Leh today turned out in large number to cast their votes in the 4th elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council. Initially there was poor turnout in all the booths across the district but polling picked up considerably in the afternoon and at several places, the Presiding Officers had to extend voting by some time beyond 4.30 pm in order to ensure that those voters, who were issued slips prior to the stipulated time and were waiting in queue, could cast their votes. As per the details available with Election Authority (Deputy Commissioner) and Election Officer (Additional Deputy Commissioner), the voting percentage was between 65 to 70. The exact percentage could not be worked out due to disruptions in the communication links between the polling parties in Nubra, Nyoma, Khaltse and Lingshed and the district headquarters beyond 3 pm. Barring allegation of booth capturing in Nimoo area of Basgo constituency, the eight and half hours long voting was peaceful with enthusiastic voters including the first timers and the aged ones lining up in all the polling stations to cast their votes. Despite being worst affected by the natural calamity, the enthusiasm about casting votes was also high in those putting up in the relief camps during the past over two and half months as both the main stream political parties-Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party, during electioneering, had assured to mitigate their woes within shortest possible time. As these people had lost their Electorates Photo Identity Cards (EPICs) and other documents like ration cards, which are being used as an alternate proof of a voter, in the cloudbursts and flash floods, the district administration provided new ration cards to all such people well in time and today they used the same as proof to be the eligible voters. Nimoo was the only polling station in the district from where complaint of booth capturing came to the notice of the Election Officer, Mohd Hanief, who is also the Additional Deputy Commissioner. In its written complaint to the Election Officer, the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that its candidate from Basgo constituency Tsewang Tundup was not allowed to sit in the polling station while as his contender from the Congress party Tsering Nurboo was permitted. 'Our candidate as well as polling agents were manhandled by the Congress activists and some villagers in full public view but neither the Presiding Officer nor the security personnel intervened', BJP leader Thupstan Chhewang alleged while talking to the EXCELSIOR on telephone from Leh, adding 'we have demanded re-polling in Nimoo having a total of 907 votes'. About the problems faced by those putting up in relief camps during the polling, he said, 'though they turned out in large number yet there was resentment among them against the timing of holding elections'. When contacted, Election Officer, Mohd Hanief said that soon on the complaint of BJP, Election Observer was directed to visit the polling station but the allegations could not be established. 'We have also directed the Returning Officer, who was camping at Basgo at that time, to conduct investigation and submit a report', he further said, adding 'final decision will be taken only on the basis of RO’s report and statement of Observer'. To a question about the percentage of voting, he said, 'the present details indicate the same between 65 to 70 per cent but the exact percentage would be worked out only after our polling parties from Nubra, Nyoma, Khaltse and Lingshed reach district headquarters'. He, however, said that polling was 71 per cent in Thiksay, 75 per cent in Sakti, 66 per cent in Choshot, 63 per cent in Phyang, 53 per cent in Lower Leh, 63 per cent in Chushul and 66 per cent in Upper Leh. Deputy Commissioner, Leh, Sanjeev Verma, when contacted, said that all the arrangements for the counting of votes on October 21 at Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Leh have been made. 'Within next two days, we will train the officials selected for the counting of votes and we will try to declare the results of 24 constituencies by 5 pm on October 21', he added. It is pertinent to mention here that two seats of the Council-Sku Markha and Temisgam have already won by the Congress uncontested.