Stage set for local body polls in Uttarakhand tomorrow

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Dehra Dun, Apr 18 (UNI) All arrangements are in place for the local body polls to be held in Uttarakhand tomorrow.

An estimated 1,422,766 voters are eligible to cast their ballots in 1524 polling booths in the state for polls to the municipal corporation, 32 municipalities and 27 nagar panchayats. Out of the 32 municipalities, three -- Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath -- will not have elections due to absence of permanent population.

These places have nominated bodies.

Voting will begin at 0800 hrs and close at 1700 hrs. Security has been enhanced to ensure peaceful polling and the administration has taken all measures to facilitate the smooth conduct of polls.

Braille Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) will also be available at the polling booths.

A three-cornered contest between the BJP, Congress and the BSP is on the cards with a total of 3405 candidates in the fray.

The ruling BJP is hopeful of securing at least 80 per cent of the seats in the local elections besides the mayor's seat, which has become a matter of prestige. It is also confident of winning 40 of the 60 ward member seats.

The Congress, which had dispelled rumours of infighting allegedly over the distribution of party tickets, has also expressed confidence about regaining lost ground in the elections.

Development is a main poll plank with all the parties wooing voters with promises of ensuring the state's progress and abolition of water tax among other claims.

The term of the civic bodies in the state had expired on February 15 and the Uttarakhand government had appointed administrators in most of these bodies. The State Election Commission had gone to the Nainital High Court against the state Government for not holding local body elections.

The Nainital High Court had directed the state government and the State Election Commission to announce a mutually acceptable date for the polls. On March 17, the state government filed an affidavit that the elections would be held on April 19.

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