Himachal Pradesh Elections: 66% Prove to Seal Fate of 412 in Battle

Himachal Pradesh registered a turnout of nearly 66 percent on Saturday, the election commission said, citing preliminary poll figures up to 5 p.m. for the 14th assembly elections — a crucial test for the BJP, which hopes to beat the precedent and also come back to power. as for Congress seeking a revival of the elections.

It remains to be seen how the two rival parties decipher the vote percentage. The state had registered 75.57 percent per poll in the 2017 parliamentary election, up from 73.5 percent in 2012.

The polls started slowly at 8am but got better as the day wore on and the sun warmed the winter chill. In the first hour, a turnout of about five percent was registered, while at 11 a.m. this was 17.98 percent. It rose to 37.19 percent at 1 p.m. and 55.65 percent until 3 p.m.

A turnout of 66.58 percent was recorded until 5 p.m., according to preliminary poll data released by the Election Commission (EC).

“The final figures will be known after the return of all opinion polls and the final review of the documents,” the EC said.

The highest polling station, Tashgeng in Lahaul and Spiti, reported 100% voting. All 52 voters cast their votes, polls said. The station is located at an elevation of over 15,000 ft. At the station, polling stations were seen in traditional dresses and voters were welcomed with desserts and local dishes.

Polling panel data showed that in the Mandi district of the 68 constituencies where Prime Minister Jai Ram Thakur is fighting, Seraj had the highest poll rate of 82.22, followed by Shillai (77) and Sujanpur (73.65). Baijnath and Sarkaghat recorded 50.25 percent, the lowest and 55.40 percent respectively.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Maneesh Garg said the final figures will be known after all polls have returned and the documents have been finalized. “The voting process was peaceful and good arrangements were made. There was no unpleasant incident, and the elections saw a very good response from the people. Even in snowy areas, people came out in great numbers with full zeal and enthusiasm,” he said.

About 130 polling booths in the tribal areas of Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba and some in Kinnaur were hit by snowfall.
According to the EC, more than 38,000 people over the age of 80, persons with disabilities and essential service voters have cast their vote.

A voter shows her finger marked in indelible ink after casting her vote for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, in Kullu, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. (PTI photo)

In an early morning message to voters, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged them to enthusiastically participate in the “festival of democracy” and register a voting register. In a tweet, Modi also greeted young voters who are about to exercise their franchise for the first time.

The CM addressed the prime minister in a tweet. “Voters in the state will create a new record by participating in the poll and are going to create a new ‘riwaaz’ (trend). Warm regards to you,” said Thakur, who voted in Mandi with his wife and daughters after praying in a temple, in Hindi.

“We are confident in the BJP’s great victory. We’re getting good feedback,” he told reporters.

Voters eager to support Congress, former party chairman Rahul Gandhi said: “Himachal will vote for OPS (old pension scheme), Himachal will vote for employment, Himachal will vote for ‘Har Ghar Lakshmi'”.

More than 55 lakh voters in the state decide the fate of 412 candidates in this high-stakes political battle. Twenty-four female candidates are in the running this time. Of the total voters, 28,54,945 are men and 27,37,845 are women. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the newcomer to Himachal and battling for 67 out of 68 seats, has been fairly quiet as the contest has formed as a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress, in line with past trends.

“Nearly 50,000 polling station members and about 25,000 security personnel were deployed,” Garg said. The EC established 7,884 polling stations, including three auxiliary polling stations in remote areas. Of these, 789 were vulnerable stands and 397 were critical.

The CEO said a total of 157 women-only polling stations and 37 people

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