Moderate polling in Himachal till noon
The minimum temperature was hovering around freezing point in Chopal in Shimla district and in Kaza area.
"Aleast seven EVMs were replaced due to malfunctioning, four of them in Kullu and one each on Shimla and Bilaspur," Himachal's Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan said.
Polling has been peaceful and no untoward incident has been reported, election officials said. They said that average voting was below eight per cent in the first hour but it crossed 18 per cent by 10.00 AM.
The poll percentage in the last election was 71.61 per cent. While a turn out 25 to 30 per cent turn out was reported from lower areas of Kangra, Hamirpur, Una and Bilaspur till noon, some polling booths in Palampur, Nagrota and Hamirpur recorded 45 to 50 per cent voting.
In Shimla district, 30 per cent polling was reported in Rampur, 28 per cent in Rohroo, 33 per cent in Theog and 22 per cent in Jubbal while it as 22 per cent in Shimla town.
Long queues of voters which included a large number of women were seen at the polling booths in the lower areas.
In Sirmaur district 13 per cent polling was recorded by 10.00 AM but it picked up later and touched 30 per cents by noon.
Union Commerce and Industries minister, Anand Sharma, who cast his vote a Kelston polling booth in Shimla, claimed that the Congress would win and form the government.
Chief Minister P K Dhumal, who exercised his franchise in Samirpur, which in now a part of his Hamirpur constituency, claimed that BJP would repeat its poll performance and win 45 seats against 41 seats it won in 2007 Assembly polls. HPCC president and former chief minister V B Singh cast his ballot at Rampur.
Many voters complained that delimitation of constituencies had become a hurdle for them in exercising their franchise.
There are 459 candidates in the fray including the Chief Minister, the HPCC chief, all ten Cabinet ministers, leader of the opposition Vidya Stokes, 63 sitting MLAs and a large number of former ministers and MLAs.
The electorate comprises 46.08 lakh voters, including 22.31 lakh women. Counting of votes will take place on December 20.