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Congress wrests control in Kargil hill council

Congress wrests control in Kargil hill councilSrinagar, Sep 2 - The Congress turned the tables on its alliance partner in Jammu and Kashmir, the regional National Conference (NC), by wooing five independent candidates to control the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Kargil.

The Congress won 10, the NC eight and Independents eight seats in the 30-member LAHDC Kargil elections held last week. Four members of the council are to be nominated by the state government.

Nominated members of the council do not have voting powers in the election of the chief executive councillor (CEC).

In the outgoing council, the Congress had only eight members while the NC that controlled the council had 18 members.

Asgar Ali Karbalaie, who won the election from Pashkum seat, would be the new CEC, state Congress president Saif-ud-Din Soz told reporters Sunday evening.

Congress general secretary Ambika Soni, who is in charge of Jammu and Kashmir, said last week after a convention of the party workers in winter capital Jammu that the party strengthening its position in Kargil was an indication of the growing political influence of the Congress in the state.

Soni did not comment on the possible electoral alliance between the Congress and the NC for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, following the inability of the parties to forge an understanding during and after the LAHDC Kargil elections.

"It is too early to comment on a future alliance with the NC. A decision on this would be taken when the time is ripe," Soni said. (IANS)