Himachal Pradesh sees over 58 percent polling


Shimla : Himachal Pradesh registered an over 58 percent voter turnout in its four Lok Sabha constituencies that went to the polls Wednesday.

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“The elections in the four parliamentary constituencies of Himachal Pradesh concluded peacefully this (Wednesday) evening. The poll percentage was 58.78 percent,” the state’s chief electoral officer Anil Khachi told IANS.

“The maximum turnout was in Mandi (64 percent), followed by Hamirpur (59 percent), Shimla (55.64 percent) and Kangra (55.37 percent),” he said.

In the assembly constituencies, maximum voting was reported from the Lahaul and Spiti, Anni and Seraj constituencies at 70 percent and lowest in the Shimla rural constituency (38 percent), Khachi said.

Voting began on a dull note, with below five percent polling in the first hour and by 10 a.m., rose to 13 percent. It picked up gradually as the day progressed.

Women turned out in strength in the rural areas of the Hamirpur parliamentary constituency.

There were minor hiccups as electronic voting machines developed snags at some places.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, his wife and sitting MP Pratibha Singh, and Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma were among the early voters in the state.

Thirty-one candidates, including nine independents, are in the fray for the four seats. The main contest is between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The high-profile Mandi seat has seen a fight between five-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh (Congress) and Maheshwar Singh of the BJP.

The Congress fielded sitting MPs Dhani Ram Shandil and Chander Kumar in Shimla and Kangra respectively against the BJP’s Virender Kashyap and Rajan Sushant.

From Hamirpur, the Congress has fielded BJP rebel Narinder Thakur against the BJP’s sitting MP Anurag Thakur, the son of Chief Minister Dhumal.

The Congress had won three seats in the 2004 general elections while the BJP had one seat.