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LAHDC elections: Polling underway in 26 constituencies

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Kargil: Voters turned out in large numbers to cast their vote as polling for the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil got underway here on Wednesday in which 87 candidates are trying their luck for 26 constituencies.

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Polling began at 8 am and is progressing smoothly, officials said.

Deputy Commissioner, Kargil, Shrikant Balasaheb Suse said, "We have a total of 278 polling stations. Arrangements have been made to carry out free and fair elections. Out of the 278 stations, 114 are hyper-sensitive and 99 are sensitive polling stations." Queues were seen at polling stations since early morning with many elderly voters among the first to cast their vote.

The counting of votes is scheduled for October 8 and the new council will be in place before October 11.

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The existing council headed by National Conference’s Feroz Ahmad Khan completed its five-year term on October 1.

A total of 95,388 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the electoral fate of 85 candidates in 26 seats of the 30-member Hill Council, according to election officials. Four councillors with voting rights are being nominated by the administration. The National Conference and Congress have announced a pre-poll alliance but have put up 17 and 22 candidates respectively.

Both parties said the arrangement has been restricted to areas where there is a tough contest with the BJP. The BJP, which won one seat in the last election and later took its tally to three with the joining of two PDP councillors, has fielded 17 candidates this time. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is trying its luck from four seats while 25 independents are also in the fray, the officials said. Electronic voting machines are being used for the first time for the council elections.

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