Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections: Highest voter turnout recorded at 74%

Chamba: Women voters in a queue show their voter identity card as they wait to cast their vote at a polling booth in Chamba on Thursday. PTI Photo
Himachal Pradesh on Thursday recorded its highest polling in assembly elections with 74 per cent of voters exercising their franchise, the Election Commission said today.

The figure was till 5 pm and the final polling percentage may be revised as final voting figures are yet to be tallied.

Polling was still on in about 500 booths.

The previous highest polling percentage of 73.5 was recorded in the 2012 assembly polls, Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena said. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it was 64.45 per cent. At a press conference, Saxena said the elections were peaceful and no incident of violence was reported.

A total of 11,283 VVPAT units were used in all polling booths of the 68 constituencies out of which 297 were replaced, Saxena said, adding this was well within the technical limits. Earlier, a total of 64.8 per cent polling was recorded till 4 pm and 54.09 per cent till 2 pm.

The voting for the polls began at 8 am today and continued till 5 pm in the evening.

The BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) which was focused on corruption during its campaign, is seeking to dislodge the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government while deflecting attacks by rivals on demonetisation and GST (goods and services tax). 

The polling took place at 7,525 booths with EVMs (electronic voting machines) and VVPAT machines (voter verifiable paper audit trail) being used for the first time in this Vidhan Sabha Election.

Right before his wedding, a bridegroom casts his vote at a polling booth in Manali's Baashing village #HimachalPradeshElections pic.twitter.com/a2zYx0jQCk

— ANI (@ANI) November 9, 2017

Congress leader and six-time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh fought against Dhumal, to be the next head of the state.

Former chief minister of Himachal Pradesh Prem Kumar Dhumal, his son and MP Anurag Thakur along with other family members after they cast their vote at a polling booth, in Hamirpur on Thursday. Photo: PTI
About 337 candidates, including 19 women and 60 sitting MLAs, contested for power over the 68-member legislative assembly of Himachal Pradesh, one of the very few states under Congress control. 
Congress leader and incumbent Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh fought against the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Prem Kumar Dhumal, two-time Chief Minister of the state, while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting 42 seats, followed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI (M)), which is contesting 14, Swabhiman Party and Lok Gathbandhan Party six each, and the CPI contesting three seats.

Amongst the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, party's chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, MP Anurag Thakur and Union Minister JP Nadda have cast their votes besides Congress leaders like Anand Sharma, Sukhvinder Singh and others.

As many as 50, 25,941 voters were eligible to cast their votes and 37,605 polling personnel were deployed at 7,525 polling booths.

India's oldest voter Shyam Saran Negi cast his vote in Kinnaur, says everyone must work in the nation's interest. #HimachalPradeshElections pic.twitter.com/l8FDL98cMg

— ANI (@ANI) November 9, 2017
To ensure free and fair elections in the state, elaborate arrangements were made. Over 983 polling stations had been declared vulnerable and 399 as critical and 29 general, three police, 22 Expenditure Observers and 71 Assistant Expenditure Observers, 1,561 Micro Observers, besides, 193 Sector Magistrate and 789 Sectors officers were also deployed throughout the state.

Web-casting was used in 2,307 polling stations in the state for live monitoring of polling activities in the state.

The state has 100 per cent Photo Identity Card (EPIC) holders.

The vote count will be held on December 18 along with those of Gujarat.

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