LAHDC Kargil Election: An Overview

By Anwar Ali Tsarpa

31 August was quite sunny. On the desert like Kurbathang I could feel the heat a bit more. We had the huge black mountain of Naktul on our left and the Ringmospang on the front. On a little distance river Suru, flowing aggressively. It was indeed, the day of lifting curtains. But not of people’s deeds, but the results of the much-awaited fourth Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Kargil’s election.

Candidates were roaming around. Their throbbing heart does not allow them to be seated for a longer time. People were greeting and wishing them for best. For all those greetings, unwantedly they had to keep their face smiling. 99 were in fray for 26 seats. Comprised of 23 candidates Congress topping the contenders with 23, followed by local party PDP and Independents 21 each, National Conference had 20 and BJP 15. Major share fell into the kitty of National Conference with 10 seats. In- fighting dragged Congress to 8, PDP and BJP got 2 and one respectively. 5 Independents remained firm with 5 seats.

Ladakh

However, Congress gains the larger share of total votes with 17782 votes, NC remained second with 16688 votes, PDP gains 8495, BJP 2172 independent candidates collectively gains 12037 votes from among 66059 votes casted. Individually, Kacho Mohammad Feroz of INC from Pashkum constituency got highest number of vote 1681. For 83844 registered voters 258 polling stations had established. But the results infused disappointment among many people due to fractured mandate.

This election was different from many past elections due to various reasons. Firstly, sixty-two, relatively young candidates took part for the first time in the LAHDCK elections. Secondly, political analysers have observed that people are shifting towards agenda-based politics from traditional party or organisational based politics. As a result, according to political analysts, bogus votes remained negligible. Shift from traditional to agenda-based politics could be supported from the fact that three polling booths in Trespone constituency boycotted the elections citing their unheard prolonged issues of underdeveloped road, lack of fresh drinking water and lack of proper health facilities. Similarly, Tumail Colony in Pashkum constituency also had boycotted polls in the first half. When I contact them they said their agendas remained unheard.

Congress District President Nasir Munshi said that, choice of voters, unlike in the past elections, are unpredictable. Earlier the people were loyal and obedient to their party, but now their preferences are unpredictable. Similarly, PDP district president Kacho Gulzar also admitted that there is a major shift in the behaviour of the voters.

On the polling day, I got the opportunity to tour in all the three regions to some extent. Staring from Minjee I visited Gound Minjee, Minjee (both male and female), Goma Minjee, Gramthang, Trespone, Gondmangal Pore, Tambis, Kanoor, Tumail Colony, Pashkum, Akchamal, Poyen, Hardas, Chuliskamboo, Goma Kargil, Balti Bazar, Indoor Stadium, Girls Hr. Sec in Kargil town, and Baroo (male and female). On the counting day also, I was to observe the counting process since morning till the end. I observed that people from Drass sector are more passionate in whole election process. The first three constituency counted were from Drass sector. When I reached early in the morning hundreds of vehicles and people from Drass were anxiously waiting for the results outside polytechnic college building, where the counting process held. In the counting room also, they had sign of discomfort and eagerness in their behaviour.

Contrary to Drass sector, people from Zanskar were seemingly less interested in the results. They were so calm in the counting room that we could feel their respiratory process. People from other constituencies were moderately passionate for the results. However, people from Karchay, especially from Trespone, Lankerchey and G.M. Pore were relatively more passionate in the counting room as well as on the polling booth than the people from other constituencies but less than Drass sector.

In the morning, on next day of the results, they were seen in shape of fanatic mob, with huge queue of vehicles, escorting their winner candidates to respective constituencies. However, people from other constituencies were also involved in similar activities but were less passionate.

 

Government Formation

Due to frequent change in government in the past five years public wanted to get a single party in power. Prior to the election, in a random public interview, many respondents had maintained that they want a single party in power to form a “strong administration”. The political parties also and obviously wanted to get a single party in power. Haji Hanifa Jan had said that based on his past experience only a strong administration will be fruitful for development of Kargil. That is possible only if a single party comes into power with majority of seats in the council. Similarly, Munshi Nasir also had hoped to get 15 plus seats in the council to form a strong administration. But after the results people again seems to be disappointed due to fractured mandate.

In the current situation of fractured mandate, a strong government is possible only if the two largest parties form alliance. Before the elections both Haji Hanifa Jan and Rasool Nagvi of National Conference had wished to form government with the Congress. To form government with the independent candidates is “fruitless and loss for the district”, what Rasool Nagvi termed as “black-mailing”. He had urged the public to “not vote independent candidates” who initiates blackmailing. But unfortunately, we could not smell any efforts from their side to form government with the major parties, in order to form a strong government.

The article was first appeared in the weekly Voice of Ladakh on 7 September 2018.

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ISK committee vows to continue the peace process

After receiving a letter from the representative of Wilayat e Faqi, ISK Chief Patron, Syed Jamal Musavi conducted a meeting with the “empowered committee” chosen from ISK to continue the peace process. The five-members committee which include Sheikh Ghulam Hassan Waizi, Syed Mehdi Musavi Tambis, Sheikh Asgar Zakiri Chanigon and Syed Kazim Sabiri pledged to continue the peace process while the other two – Sheikh Ali Naqi (He is not a signatory of the deal while he was present in the committee) and Sheikh Mohammad Fikr – are said to be out of station.

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In the supervision of Syed Jamal Musavi the attendants of the meeting signed an agreement pledging to continue the peace process. Speaking to the correspondent of Ladakh Express, Syed Jamal Musavi told that Ayatollah Mehdavipur has asked to continue the peace process and report back to him. He further ensured that the next meeting will be scheduled soon after reaching back the other two members of the nominated five members group.

Beware that the other faction of the ISK led by Sheikh Nazir Muhammadi is in Delhi. Sources told that he has carried together the white cloth signed by more than 2000 people. Syed Jamal pronounced that nothing has been written on the cloth. The two members of the empowered committee are also present with Sheikh Nazir in Delhi.

A five-member group from both the influential groups of Kargil met with the representative of Wilayat e Faqi in Delhi on 4th of April for the first time to embark peace talks. In addition to this five-member group another committee of three-members has also been chosen. It seems that both Syed Jamal led faction in ISK and IKMT are dedicated to reach a comprehensive peace agreement between the two groups, among whom the basis of the conflict are more ideological than interest.

During the interview Syed Jamal declined to speak anything regarding the current political instability in the LAHDC Kargil. While on the other side the politicians are associating themselves with the ISK and told that the “Council” belongs to ISK. Former Executive Councilor Rasool Naqvi blamed PDP to “divide ISK and IKMT on the same line as RSS divide Muslims into factions”. Former CEC Hanifa Jan told that “PDP has betrayed ISK not NC”. His statement also indicates that the council belongs to ISK.

Kargil: The regime of “four under M’s”

Kargil

In the inconsistent up and down in the history of Kargil, this prevailing particular period will remember in coming days, as might be “the regime of four under M’s”. I don’t need to pen more detail about the four M’s. Because this is a term reverberating as a joke in the markets and public places. So the only clue is M stands for matriculation, which mean under matriculations at the most apex posts of the district.

With the emergence of this era many unwanted thinks seems to take direction towards Kargil. Firstly, the most recent unfavorable move was the transfer of popular Superintendent of Police (SP) and Deputy Commissioner (DC). Both these personalities were the most educated zealous and dedicated officer with a vision, for the same post in the history of Kargil. That was the reason that massive protest was held in Kargil against his transfer, while a huge crowd accompanied the former SP on his departure from Kargil in Kargil Bazar. The most jolting thing was the reason for his transfer. People believe that the SP is transferred because he doesn’t give escorts to the MLC and Chairman of legislative council in Drass at his first time arrival in Kargil.

With the change in SP the most suffering class is the youth, which had a hope with the previous SP. The “Kargil top 10” under which Mr. Mishra planned to provide financial assistance to 10 Kargili students for preparation of Civil Services also seems to be changed in a surreal. In addition he had embarked to guide the youth via conference and seminars but now everything seems to be static again like before his appointment.

Second disappointing news in the regime of four M’s is that the farthest village of Kargil, Pungbar has been suffered due to heavy rainfall. The village is a sum of almost 19 households among which 70% have suffered damages to their houses while all the residents have suffered loss to their property. But one of the under M declared that the loss is nil, as he visit the village days before, said a villager on the condition of anonymity.

Thirdly, the most smearing hypocrisy is that the MLC pronounced on his return that ‘no district officer will be transferred’ before the completion of their tenure. In addition he promised to bring back all the local officers serving outside the district. But unfortunately they have embarked a series of transfer. The DEO, ACP PWD and many others were transferred just like as they were in their hit list.

Fourthly, most of the departments in the district are without adequate man power; especially officer ranks. In block, the posts of PD, DPO are vacant while the ACD has been recently appointed. In maintenance and rural electrification department the post of Ex. Engineer is vacant since a long time. Similarly in information department the post of AD has not been appointed since years. On DIET the post of director and on Degree College the post of principle is vacant due to which the student community is suffering a lot.

Fifth, the vacancies which I have pointed out above and the other vacancies in different departments have not been filled. While people say that the interviews and entrances for the posts have been delayed and the posts are still vacant. Among the entire education sector is the most suffering portion.

Sixth, the whole Kargil has been facing a huge electricity load shedding since last few months. The Chutuk Power Project is not working properly as the two turbans are already stopped working just after one year of its inauguration while only the other two are on function. The transmission lines in villages are touching to trees which create panic among the people. It also creates threat in case of heavy wind and rainfall.

Seventh and the most important point is the release of district plan. The district plan is yet to be released while the working session is already embarked. Here I feel worthy to mention that the same members and their allies tried to thwart the release of annual plan last year in the government of their opposition party.

Eight and the last point is the hype in price of commodities in market. Vegetable in market are charged almost double rate than the prices in Kashmir. In the mean while the price of a tea cup in Kargil bazaar is charged with 8-9 rupees for 50 ML. The authorities are arguing that in Leh 12 rupee is being charged for a cup of tea but the actual point is that in Leh the 12 rupee is charging for 200 ML and the quality and hygiene is good than the Kargili tea.

In the conclusion, with regret, I feel it necessary to mention that the official website of the LAHDC Kargil is yet to update after three months of change in administration.

LAHDC

Points are indefinite in this regime of under matriculations. Above mentioned are the points which came to known while there might be more such unwanted things remained behind curtains. Still the district has more four years to be survived under the same regime of under matriculations. So there is lot to witness in the coming period.

Ladakh Express Team