Shimla: The first phase of voting for the general assembly elections in the the three assembly constituencies in Himachal Pradesh ended peacefully, with a 62 per cent voter turn out, yesterday.
As per officials, Lahaul Spiti saw a maximum voter turnout of 73 per cent voting, followed by Bharmour, where there was 61 per cent voting and Kinnaur, where 59 per cent of the electoral collage exercised their right.
Voting in the three seats was held five weeks ahead of the rest of the state, as these areas tend to get snowbound early in winter.
At present, all three seats are held by the Congress. There are 12 candidates in the fray for these seats. The main contest in Kinnaur is between Jagat Singh Negi of the Congress and Tejwant Negi of the BJP.
In Bharmour, old rivals Thakur Singh (Congress) and Tulsi Ram (BJP) are clashing for the sixth consecutive time.
The contest is triangular in Lahaul-Spiti, involving Phunchog Rai (Congress), Ram Lal Markandae (BJP) and Bir Singh Rawal (BSP).
While the remaining 65 assembly seats will go to the polls on December 19.
Hikkam in the Spiti valley – with 318 voters – is the highest polling station in India, at an altitude of 15,000 feet..
Some 100 of the 298 polling stations in the three assembly segments are located at an altitude between 8,500 and 15,000 feet.
Bharmaur has 55,108 voters, Kinnaur 49,876 and Lahaul & Spiti 22,809.
The Election Commission of India had arranged nearly 1,100 police personnel including home guards. A company of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) had also been set up to conduct a peaceful and fair election.
The use of mobile phone and wireless services was granted by the election commission for political parties in all the three constituencies. A total of 230 wireless stations had been set up to provide a better communication link by the administration.
Chief electoral officer Manisha Nanda said electronic voting machines (EVMs) and other election material is being airlifted from the tribal areas to Kullu where counting would take place on December 28.
Pangi area would be brought to Bharmour for counting.