The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won the sixth Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Leh general council elections, roping in 15 out of 26 seats.
Congress' performance was better than that of the previous year, with the grand old party winning nine seats. Independents bagged the two other seats, according to reports.
Leh recorded a 65.07 per cent turnout in the 6th Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) elections on Thursday, an official spokesman had said earlier.
Counting of votes started at the Amphitheatre of SSK, Tisuru, Leh around 9 am.
According to reports, the BJP was looking to win all 26 seats as the saffron camp had fulfilled Ladakh's demand by turning it into a union territory. However, there was prevailing insecurity as the region wasn't the sixth schedule and safeguards on the pattern of the northeast states. Experts believe that Congress played up on the region's insecurity over this issue, thus increasing its tally in the elections.
An electorate of 89,776, including 45025 women, had exercised their franchise in 294 polling stations spread over 26 constituencies across Leh district to seal the fate of 94 candidates including 26 each of the BJP and Congress.
Besides the Congress and BJP, the Aam Admi Party (AAP) was also trying its luck for the first time by fielding 19 candidates, although it failed to win any seats.
The rest of the 23 contestants were independents.
Regional parties including National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have chosen to stay away from the election.
LAHDC-Leh has a total of 30 seats and four councilors are nominated by the government.
Since the formation of the hill council in 1995, the Congress had swept the polls thrice, while the Ladakh Union Territorial Front had won the elections in 2005.
The BJP wrested control of the council from Congress for the first time in the last elections by winning 18 out of 26 seats.
Kargil district of Ladakh had a separate hill council which was elected in 2018 for a five-year term.
(With agency inputs)