STATE TIMES NEWS
LEH: A three-tier security cover has been put in place for counting of votes for the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) here on Monday, officials said.All the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot boxes used for the voting on October 22 have been moved to the strong room in presence of the political parties and their candidates, they said.Out of 89,776 registered voters, around 65 per cent of the electorate had exercised their franchise in 294 polling stations spread across 26 constituencies in Leh district on Thursday to decide the fate of 94 candidates, including 26 each of the BJP and the Congress.The AAP is also trying its luck for the first time in the polls by fielding 19 candidates, while the regional parties of the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have chosen to stay away from the election.The counting of votes will start at 9 am tomorrow (Monday). All requisite arrangements, including a three-tier security around the venue, are in place to ensure a peaceful counting exercise, an official said.He said CCTV cameras have been installed in and outside the counting hall, while the strong room is being guarded by the CRPF round-the-clock.An adequate number of police personnel have also been deployed for maintenance of law and order, the official said.He said special seating arrangements have been made for the contesting candidates and their agents.Owing to rising COVID-19 cases, all safety measures like wearing of masks, using sanitisers and following social distancing norms are being followed, he said.For the first time, the administration extended the postal ballot voting services for senior citizens, people with disabilities, individuals who are under home or institutional quarantine, and doctors and paramedical staff deployed at COVID-19 hospitals.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, 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 the Congress for the first time by winning 18 out of 26 seats in the last elections.
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