Himachal Pradesh Elections: Polling ends, 74% voting recorded
The polling for all 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh Assemby began at 8 am on Thursday amid tight security arrangements. 337 candidates, including 19 women, are in the fray, with more than 50 lakh voters eligible to exercise their franchise. Polling, which began at 8 am, will end at 5 pm.
7,525 polling booths have been set up, of which nearly 1,300 have been identified as critical and vulnerable.
For the first time, Electronic Voting Machines with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) are being used at all polling booths.
07:00 pm: 74% voting recorded
05:45 pm: Polling ends
05:20 pm: 64.8 % voter turnout recorded till 4 pm in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.
02.30 pm: 54.09% polling recorded till 2 pm in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.
02:15 pm: Senior Congress leader Vidya Stokes cast her vote a polling booth in Shimla's Barubag.
12:30 pm: 28.6% polling recorded till 12 noon in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.
11:45 am: Independent India's first voter Shyam Saran Negi casts his vote at Kalpa polling station.
11:30 am: Union Minister JP Nadda casts his vote at a polling booth in Bilaspur.
11:00 am: In Ree polling booth in Hamirpur's Sujanpur assembly segment, VVPAT machine not working.
10:30 am: 13.72% polling recorded till 10 am in Himachal Pradesh assembly elections.
10:00 am: Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya cast their votes at a polling booth in Shimla.
9:56 am: BJP's MP from Hamirpur Anurag Thakur casts his vote.
9:55 am: BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal casts his vote.
9:45 am: Confident of getting majority in the election, the next Government too will be of Congress, says Virbhadra Singh.
9:26 am: The state needs a senior leader like Dhumal ji to look at the affairs of Himachal: Thakur
9:25 am: People have made up their mind to get rid of Congress who looted Himachal Pradesh, says Anurag Thakur.
9:15 am: We were expecting 50 plus seat, but looks like we will get 60 plus, says Dhumal.
8:45 am: Technical glitch at polling station number 55 in Kinnaur, Reckong Peo. Polling yet to begin.
8:30 am: A teacher on polling duty reportedly booked for taking selfie.
8:15 am: Voters queue up across Himcahal Pradesh to cast their votes.
8:00 am: Polling for all 68 constituencies in Himachal Pradesh begins.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, 10 ministers, eight Chief Parliamentary secretaries, Deputy Speaker Jagat Singh Negi, former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and over a dozen former ministers are among those who have thrown their hat in the ring.
The vote count will be held on 18 December along with Gujarat's.
The ruling Congress led by the chief minister and the BJP led with former chief minister Dhumal are contesting all 68 seats while the BSP is contesting 42 seats, followed by the CPM - 14, Swabhiman Party and Lok Gathbandhan Party six each and the CPI - 3.
As many as 7,525 polling booths have been set up in the state and 37,605 polling personnel have been deputed for poll duty. Besides 17,850 personnel of police and Home Guards and 65 companies of central paramilitary force have been deployed, Chief Electoral Officer Pushpender Rajput said.
Elaborate arrangements have been made for ensuring free and fair polls and 29 general, three police, 22 expenditure observers and 71 assistant expenditure observers, 1,561 micro observers, besides, 193 sector magistrate and 789 sectors officers have also been deployed throughout the state. Web-casting would be used in 2,307 polling stations in the state for live monitoring of polling activities in the state by Election Commission of India and polling would be held from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, the Chief Election Officer said.
He said the state has 100 percent Photo Identity Card (EPIC) holders and 7,525 electronic voting machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) are being used. VVPAT machines are being used for the first time in this Assembly Election and 10 percent of total EVMs and VVPATs have been kept in reserve.
The Election Commission has also allowed the electors to cast their vote by producing any one document out of the 12 identity documents. He said 983 polling stations had been declared vulnerable and 399 as critical to ensure free and fair elections in the State.
Meanwhile, DGP Somesh Goyal said 11,500 Himachal Pradesh police jawans, 6400 Home guards have been deployed. 65 companies of paramilitary forces also stationed for the elections.
The maximum numbers of vulnerable polling stations are 297 in Kangra district and minimum two in Kinnaur district, Rajput said. He said the Hikkim polling station in Lahaul and Spiti Assembly Constituency, which is situated at a maximum height of 14567 feet, has 194 voters while Ka polling booth in Kinnaur has a minimum of six voters.
In the previous election, BJP dissidents floated the Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) just ahead of 2012 which won only one seat but cornered 4.52 percent votes. The Congress and the BJP won 36 and 26 seats polling 43.21 and 38.83 percent votes. Independents candidates polled 15.87 votes and five independents were elected.
This time there is no third force and as Congress and the BJP have been returning to power alternately since 1985, the BJP is claiming that it is their turn to stage a comeback.
Key fact about Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections 2017:
- Polling would go on till 5 pm.
- Polling will take place at 7,525 booths with EVMs and VVPAT.
- The counting will take place on 18 December.
- A total of 50,25,941 voters are eligible to cast their vote.
- Corruption was the main focus of the BJP campaign with the party training its guns at Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
- Congress hit out at the BJP over GST and demonetisation
- Section 144 will be in force in the 100-metre radius around each polling booth.
- 50,25,841 voters will decide the fate of 337 candidates.
- 983 out of the 7,525 polling booths have been declared sensitive.
- Demonstrations, slogan-shouting and public meetings have been banned in t from November 7 to 10 and probibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has been imposed.
- The overall number of candidates has come down to 338 from 459 in the elections in 2012.
- There are 25,31,321 men and 24,57,032 women voters in the State.
- 14 transgender persons will be exercising their franchise.
- Web-casting would be used in 2,307 polling stations in the State for live monitoring of polling activities.
- The highest booth at 14,467 feet is situated in the Hikkim polling station in the Lahaul and Spiti Assembly constituency. It has 194 voters.
- The Ghaluwal polling station of 43-Haroli Assembly constituency is situated at 328 feet, the lowest, having 985 electors.
OneIndia News (with inputs)