SRINAGAR: Tashi Gyalson has been elected as the leader of the sixth Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh. BJP, the party he belongs to, had secured 15 seats in the 26-berth council.
Now Gaylson as the first post-UT Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of Leh will be identifying his team of executive councillors in coming days.
The newly elected members took the oath of office on Saturday. Principal and district sessions judge Ranbir Singh Pathania administered the oath. It was soon after that Gaylson was unanimously chosen to lead the Council. Tashi Gyalson won from Lingshet constituency and his Deputy, Tsering Angchuk was elected to the Council from Diskit. Gyalson is a lawyer who was earlier with PDP for some time.
Congress is the opposition in the Council with nine berths and two were won by independents.
Interestingly, the oath-taking ceremony coincided with the first anniversary of Ladakh’s conversion into a Union Territory (UT) without legislature.
In his first interaction, he thanked people for voting BJP. He said new Leh is in making. “we have a lot of challenges ahead especially after Ladakh became UT,” he said. “We will be doing to our best in the next five years.” Asked about the Sixth Schedule, he said Home Minister had met the political leaders from the region and they were satisfied.
The elections to the LAHDC took place in interesting circumstances. Initially, all parties in Leh decided to boycott the polls saying unless they do not get the protection to their land, culture and jobs, they will not contest. This led them to eventually being flown to Delhi where they were assured by none other than the Home Minister.
Once they flew home, the BJP sent a number of leaders to campaign for the BJP. Media reports said four union ministers visited Ladakh along with many state and national level functionaries. The elections took place at a time when India and China are caught in a standoff for almost half the year now.
Leh has been seeking protection under Sixth Schedule. Though there has not been a formal announcement, the MHA has not extended the new lands to Ladakh, unlike Jammu and Kashmir. Interestingly, Leh, which is the second district that makes Ladakh is not supportive of the Sixth Schedule. It is seeking status quo ante in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.