A crucial election is taking place in Leh today for the fifth Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh which will decide the future discourse of the politics in J&K. There is a strong fight between the Congress and BJP in this election, and if BJP wins the polls then it would be emboldened to take on the challenges thrown by the political opponents. However, if the Congress wins the polls then the opposition party will get strengthened, and pose bigger challenges for the BJP in Jammu region. PDP, and NC are marginal players in Ladakh, and win seats in Kargil alone.
Congress has been the dominant party in this region with a number of senior leaders getting berths in union government. BJP is however trying to end the dominance of the Congress, and for this it has fielded 25 candidates. In this election, a the newly formed New Ladakh Party is also upped the ante and it remains to be seen as to how it fares in the polls. The new entrant might up the ante as there is general unrest in this region against the established political parties which have failed in delivering the goods several times.
In the 2010 polls, Congress had emerged dominant after winning 25 out of the 30 seats in the council. This year a number of senior BJP leaders from Punjab and Jammu campaigned in entire region to win the council election. A number of rallies across Ladakh were held including in faraway areas by the party leaders to convince the electorate to vote for the saffron party.
Congress has also campaigned in a big way in the area, and organized more than 20 large rallies putting the focus on the work done by the party in the last two decades. The local Congress leadership has also expressed confidence that they would not let BJP storm it’s bastion. The elections are crucial for the parties as Congress by winning the elections wants to bring an end to the victory march of the BJP in the state, and the BJP on the other hands wants to decimate the opposition.
If BJP wins the party will get a shot in the arm whereas if the Congress wins it would allow the party to mobilize resources for the bigger battles ahead.