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. 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. 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.