Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Over 67% polling in Ladakh; Kargil records higher turnout than Leh

Over 67 per cent polling in Ladakh; Kargil records higher turnout than Leh
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 16:38 IST
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 16:38 IST

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Leh: Over 67 per cent polling was recorded in Ladakh on Monday in the election to decide the fate of three candidates in the fray for the lone Lok Sabha seat in the Union territory, polling officials said here.

They also said that the voter turnout in Kargil was 71.45 per cent and 62.50 per cent in Leh.

Spread over an area of over 59,000 square kilometres -- around 40 times the size of Delhi -- Ladakh is the largest parliamentary constituency in India in terms of area and covers the two districts of Leh and Kargil.

According to the Election Commission, the overall polling percentage was 67.15.

The constituency recorded a 71.05 per cent turnout in the 2019 general election.

Lt Governor Brig (Dr) BD Mishra (retd) and his wife Neelam Mishra were among those who cast their votes at Skara Yokma in Leh.

"Voting is the festival of democracy. I am happy that we are celebrating it like that. Free and fair voting is an important step of democracy," Mishra told reporters after voting.

Well-known climate activist Sonam Wangchuk, who was in the news recently for leading a 66-day sit-in protest in Leh over demands such as safeguards under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution for Ladakh and statehood, cast his vote in Leh's Ulyaktopo village.

"I have just voted and I am happy. I am also feeling sad because many people don't exercise their right to vote. Many leaders sacrificed a lot for this country. People should celebrate the festival of democracy," he told PTI after voting.

Ladakh Chief Electoral Officer Yetindra M Maralkar had earlier in the day said that they are expecting up to 75 per cent voting.

At least 10 'Model Booths' were set up here with traditional seating arrangements and local refreshments while election promotion music was played.

In this sparsely populated constituency, a unique polling station for just five members of a family was also set up in the remote village of Washi in Leh district.

At the booth at Ulyatokpo where Wangchuk cast his vote, there were only 53 voters.

There are three candidates in the fray for the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat.

While there are two candidates from the Buddhist-dominated Leh -- BJP's Tashi Gyalson and the Congress' Tsering Namgyal -- Independent candidate Mohammad Haneefa Jan is the lone candidate from the Shia Muslim-dominated Kargil region.

Haneefa, a former National Conference leader, quit the party along with its entire Kargil unit to contest as an Independent after the Congress fielded Namgyal as the INDIA bloc candidate.

Of the total 1.84 lakh voters in Ladakh, 95,926 are in the Kargil district and 88,877 in Leh. There are 298 polling stations in Leh and 279 booths in Kargil.

This is the first major electoral battle in the region after it was carved out of Jammu and Kashmir and granted Union territory status in 2019.

Published 20 May 2024, 16:38 IST

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