Himachal records about 67% voter turnout



Shimla: The weather gods were at their jovial best on Wednesday as voters in Himachal Pradesh sealed the fate of 324 candidates aspiring to be members of the next Vidhan Sabha. Compared to 74.5 per cent voter turnout during the last assembly elections, about 67 per cent electorate exercised their franchise this time.

Barring a report of booth capturing in Solan district and three related FIR registered in Kangra district, the polling for the second phase of elections went off peacefully. Many voters also complained of not receiving Voter identity cards. This time the voter cards were prepared in Sugam E-Governance centres and were to be sent by post at the voters’ residential addresses.

Addressing media persons later in the evening, state chief electoral officer Manisha Nanda said the polling was peaceful in the state, and voting had to be continued beyond 5 PM in some places as long queues of voters were seen waiting for their turn. Polling was slow in the first two hours with only 10 to 15% turnout, but as the day warmed up, people started reaching poling booths in large numbers.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh cast his vote in Rampur, whereas CM-hopeful, Prem Kumar Dhumal cast his vote in Samirpur village of Hamirpur. Both of them appeared confident of winning a clear majority.

The election department had deployed about 40,000 staff and set up 5,934 polling stations across the state, with the highest pooling booth at Tepa (12,000 feet) in Rajnagar constituency of Chamba and lowest at Nalti (700 feet) in Hamirpur constituency.

Polling for the first phase to the three tribal seats of Bharmaur, Lahaul and Spiti, and Kinnaur was completed on November 14. The counting of votes will be done on December 28.

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