Himachal Pradesh recorded a voter turnout of nearly 66 per cent on Saturday, the Election Commission said citing provisional polling figures till 5 pm for the assembly elections, a crucial test for the BJP hoping to beat precedent and return to power as well as for the Congress looking for electoral revival. While AAP is hoping to spring a surprise .
As per PTI report, From capital Shimla to the icy heights of Spiti, people across the state voted braving cold and in the higher reaches of mountains trudging through snow to elect a new state government.
Voting began at 8 am on a slow note but picked up as the day progressed and the sun warmed the winter chill.
In the first hour, around five per cent turnout was recorded, while by 11 am, it was 17.98 per cent. It notched up to 37.19 per cent by 1 pm and 55.65 per cent till 3 pm.
Till 5 pm, a 65.92 per cent turnout was recorded, according to provisional polling data released by the Election Commission (EC).
Polling officials walk 15 kms in snow to reach Himachal polling stn at 12k-ft
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The highest polling of 72.35 per cent was recorded in Sirmour district followed by 68.48 per cent in Solan and 67.67 per cent in Una and 67.5 per cent in Lahaul and Spiti. The high-altitude district of Lahaul and Spiti had recorded 21.95 per cent, the lowest, till 1 pm, but polling was brisk as the sun came out.
The poll panel said that among the 68 assembly constituencies in the hill state, Shillai recorded the highest 77 per cent turnout while Sarkaghat recorded the lowest 55.40 per cent.
Seraj constituency in Mandi district from where Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is contesting and Sujanpur recorded 74 per cent polling, according to the provisional figures.
Dropping temperatures and advancing years failed to dampen the enthusiasm of centenarians as many of them came out to vote, with 105-year-old Naro Devi exercising her franchise in Churah in Chamba and 103-year-old Sardar Pyar Singh in Shimla.
There are over 1.21 lakh people above 80 years of age in the hill state with as many as 1,136 centenarians. The EC had made special arrangements for the elderly and persons with disabilities at polling stations across the state.
The commission said Chasak Bhatpri, an 83-year-old woman, was among those who cast their vote in the remote Bharmaur constituency in Chamba despite heavy snow.
“Bharmour is the farthest in the state being at a distance of 14 km from the nearest road head. Seeing huge response from the voters despite heavy snow,” the EC said sharing her picture in snow.