25 per cent polling in HP

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Shimla, Nov 14 (UNI) About 25 per cent electorate had cast their votes in three tribal assembly constituencies in Himachal Pradesh by noon where elections are being held in the first phase today.

State's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Manisha Nanda said about 22 per cent electorate had exercised their right to franchise in Kinnuar, 25 to 30 per cent in Bharmaur and 22 to 25 per cent in Lahaul Spiti.

She said few voters were seen walking to the the polling booths in the Spiti Valley as against Lahaul Valley in the district where the minimum temperatures were below freezing point.

The voting began at a slow pace in the three tribal constituencies during the first hour before picking up in the subsequent hours as local people started venturing out of the warmth of their houses to cast their votes.

Till 1000 hrs, about nine per cent of the voters had cast their votes in the three tribal constituencies, where elections are being held ahead of the remaining 65 assembly constituencies for the first time in the state's history.

There was no report of violence or bogus voting so far, election officials said, adding that people had queued outside the polling booths across the tribal region to cast their votes as the day progressed.

Polling in the remaining assembly constituencies would be held during the second phase on December 19, while counting of votes would be undertaken on December 28.

Tight security arrangements have been made for polling in the three constituencies and about 2,000 security personnel have been deployed for ensuring free and fair elections.

A three-tier fully operational communication network has been made available to the polling staff and the telephone service providers have been asked to provide congestion free access to the tribal areas where over 100 polling booths, out of a total of 298 booths, are at a height ranging from 8,500 to 15,000 ft.

UNI

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