Stage set for second phase of polling in HP tomorrow

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Shimla, Dec 18 (UNI) Tight security arrangements have been made for the second phase of polling in the 65 assembly constituencies of Himachal Pradesh where polling is to be held in the second and final phase tomorrow.

State's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Manisha Nanda said voting will begin at 0800 hrs and come to an end at 1700 hrs.

The crucial second phase of elections would decide the fate of 335 candidates, including that of state Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and BJP's chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, who are in the fray in the polls.

Ms Nanda said 44,179,015 voters, including 22,280,65 men and 21,89,850 women, would exercise their franchise in the polls in the second phase, while elections to the three tribal seats of Kinnuar, Lahaul Spiti and Bharmaur in Chamba district were held on November 14.

In all, 86.74 per cent voters in the state have photo identity cards (EPIC) with Sirmour district having the highest percentage at 91.71, while Shimla district has the lowest at 82.29, she said.

However, the voters were allowed to cast their vote by producing any one document out of the 16, which have been permitted by the Election Commission (EC).

The CEO said 5,946 polling booths have been set up across 10 districts of the state for which 40,000 security personnel have been deputed for ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections.

This also includes 2,378 reserve polling personnel, 11,892 security personnel, 687 sector officer and magistrates, she said, adding that 1,972 HP Road Transport Corporation buses, 73 trucks and 891 light vehicles were used for smooth transportation of election material and personnel.

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