Counting of votes in Himachal Pradesh begins

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Shimla, Dec 28: Counting of votes polled in the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh began at 0800 hrs this morning, amid tight security.

The Election Commission has set up 41 counting stations throughout the state to count votes polled using hundreds of electronic voting machines. The main contest was between the BJP and the Congress. The elections to the 68 Assembly seats in the State were held in two phases on November 14 and December 19. The first phase election took place for the seats of Bharmaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur, while 65 seats went to the polls in the second phase.

State's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Manisha Nanda said 5,000 officials, including 878 counting supervisers, 878 counting assistants and 878 additional staff, have been deputed for completing the counting process.

She said 68 observers were also on duty to supervise the counting process for the elections for which 45,44,166 voters had exercised their franchise.

About 72.55 per cent of women voters and 69.67 per cent men voters had cast their votes in the elections, Ms Nanda added.

The CEO said 41 Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore (BEL), engineers were on duty to ensure smooth functioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Out of 12 districts in the state, seven districts of Kinnaur, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Una, Kangra, Chamba and Lahaul-Spiti recorded higher women voting percentage as against men, she added.

The term of the current state Assembly is till March 9, 2008.

UNI

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