Last week, Gyal P Wangyal was elected as the 4th Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh. Wangyal is a councillor from Sakti constituency of Ladakh and a senior BJP leader.

Wangyal was elected after a long process of election that was held at Council Assembly Hall, Leh. At 34 years of age, Wangyal is the youngest Chief Executive of LAHDC.

Wangyal was the front-runner in the race after the post fell vacant due to the resignation of incumbent CEC Jamyang Tsering Namgyal who was elected as Member of Parliament in the recently held Lok Sabha polls. CEO, LAHDC/Deputy Commissioner Leh, Avny Lavasa who is also the election officer declared the election results and presented the winning certificate to the newly elected CEC Gyal P Wangyal.

BJP has a majority in 26-member LAHDC-Leh after winning 17 of the 24 seats. Congress managed only six seats while the National Conference got two. One seat was bagged by an Independent.

The councillors, Skurbuchan and Stanzin Phuntsog, proposed the name of Gyal P Wangyal for the vacant post of Chairman and CEC which was seconded and supported by other Councilors.

After Wangyal took the oath, he stressed on ensuring a cordial work atmosphere with a common goal towards achieving development targets well on time. He urged all the councillors of both ruling and opposition parties to work united with the intention to serve the people of the region.

Wangyal also remembered his father, veteran leader Sonam Wangyal, and said that he followed his advice that brought him to this high position of CEC, LAHDC.

After the election of CEC, a two-minute silence was also observed to pay homage to those who died recently in Leh district in the wake of road accidents.

The council was created under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act 1995, following demands of Ladakhi people to make Leh District a new Union Territory because of its religious and cultural differences with the rest of Jammu and Kashmir. In October 1993, the Union Government and the Jammu and Kashmir State government agreed to grant Ladakh the status of Autonomous Hill Council.

The council came into being with the holding of elections on August 28, 1995. The inaugural meeting of the council was held at Leh on September 3, 1995. An Autonomous Hill Council has also been established in neighbouring Kargil District.

In 2003, as part of its “healing touch policy”, the J&K government announced popular elections for the Autonomous Hill Development Council in Kargil, which was meant to strengthen participatory forms of development, governance and democratic state-building in the war-ravaged district.

– Umar Mukhtar


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