An estimated 46.08 lakh electors including 23.76 lakh male and 22.31 lakh female, 74,646 service electors and 1,162 visually impaired electors would seal the fate of 459 candidates in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the one day polling on Nov 4.
The BJP and Congress are contesting all 68 seats while BSP has fielded 66 candidates followed by Himachal Lokhit Party (36), TMC (25), SP (16), CPI-M (15), NCP and Swabhiman Party (12 each), CPI (7), Shiv Sena (4) and 105 Independents. Only 27 women candidates including seven of BJP and 13 from Congress are in the fray even though the female population in the state was 48.5 per cent.
As many as 7,253 polling booths, which include 1,310 sensitive and 767 hyper sensitive booths, have been set up in the state and 60 companies of Central Para Military Forces including 25 Companies of ITBP, 15 Companies of SSB, 10 Companies of CRPF and 10 Companies of BSF have deployed to man the booths. The sale of liquor has been prohibited from 5 PM on Friday till 5 PM on Nov 4.
Helicopters have been pressed into service for air-lifting EVMs, polling personnel and polling materials before and after the election in the far-flung and snow-bound areas of the state. All the polling parties would reach their destination by tomorrow evening. During the 14-day high-pitch campaign, a battery of national leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, LK Advani, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Mayawati and number of Union ministers and politicians from other states toured Himachal.