The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has withdrawn its support for the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) National Conference in Kargil, citing “failure to use development funds”.
An unexpected turn of events took place ahead of next year’s election. The two parties have come together to form the Hill Council, which looks after development issues in parallel.
Pulling the BJP’s plug means the council headed by chief executive councilor Feroz Ahmed Khan will be in crisis.
In a statement sent to the Kargil administration, the BJP said seven of its councilors had withdrawn support from the National Conference.
If the National Conference wants to stay in power now, it is in a crisis to prove its majority on the floor. Opponents of Kargil and the Kashmir Valley have often criticized NC top figures as “friends of the BJP in Kargil and Jammu and Kashmir.”
In Ladakh, BJP spokesperson Nilja Angmo Hashur said in a statement that three elected councilors and four nominated members were withdrawing support to the NC at the behest of Ladakh unit president Funchok Stangin.
Hashur noted the council’s inability to use welfare funds and indicated a lack of accountability in spending.
The statement accused the NC of engaging in “politics of revenge” and undermining the work ethic of the Hill Tracts.
The Kargil Hill Council has 30 members, of whom 26 are directly elected and four are appointed to represent the women and the minority community. The council is headed by a chief executive councilor who heads a five-member executive committee.
The Autonomous Hill Council works with the gram panchayats to make decisions on economic development, healthcare, education, land use, taxes and local governance, which are reviewed in the presence of the chief executive councilor and executive councilors at the block headquarters.
Ladakh police maintain law and order while the Ladakh administration oversees justice, communication and higher education in the districts.
In the 2018 Hill Council elections, 10 of the 26 elected members of LAHDC-Kargil came from the National Conference, eight from the Congress, three from the BJP and five (independents). The Ladakh Union Territory Administration has nominated four members to the 30-member council.
The 2018 election of the Kargil Hill Council created a hanging verdict. The NC initially allied with the Congress. Two councilors from the PDP and one from the BJP.
After the 2019 Lok Sabha vote, the NC and Congress split and entered into an alliance with two PDP councilors and four independents to stay in power in the NC council. A few months later, both the PDP and independent councilors joined the BJP, which increased support for the NC. Half way to stay in power is 18.
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