Almost two million people voted by lunch-time in Himachal Pradesh today, as the state’s four Lok Sabha constituencies went to the polls.
As many as 38 candidates are in the battle for the Lok Sabha election in Shimla, Mandi, Kangra and Hamirpur constituencies.
State Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan told media that the voter turnout was 41 percent by 1 pm.
By-poll also took place in one assembly constituency.
Mr. Chauhan also said that voting began at 7 am at most of the polling stations and there was no report from anywhere of any malfunction in electronic voting machines (EVMs).
State Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, former chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Prem Kumar Dhumal and Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma were among the early voters.
The state’s oldest voter, 97-year-old Shyam Saran Negi, and his wife Hira Mani, 91, also exercised their right in Kinnaur district.
The main contenders include Shanta Kumar of the BJP in Kangra and Congress candidate Pratibha Singh in Mandi. Incumbent BJP MPs from Hamirpur and Shimla, Anurag Singh Thakur and Virender Kashyap, are re-contesting from their respective constituencies.
In 2009, the BJP bagged three seats, while Congress leader Virbhadra Singh won only one seat.
Mr. Singh surrendered his seat in 2012 when he became chief minister and his wife Pratibha Singh was elected as an MP in the by-poll.
In 2009, Himachal Pradesh saw 58.43 percent polling, while in the 2012 assembly polls, the state saw a record turnout of 73.51 percent.