Himachal Pradesh on Sunday registered a record high polling of around 75% in elections for 68 assembly constituencies. In 2007, the state had registered 71% turnout.
The verdict, to be declared on December 20 after the Gujarat elections, is crucial for both the BJP and the Congress who fought this elections on issues like corruption and price rise.
Much to the credit of the BJP, it did not let anti-incumbency wave to build even though it failed to mount an anti-corruption campaign against the Congress.
Voting started on a tardy pace but picked up as the day progressed. If it was just nine per cent in the first hour, it shot up to 60% by 3 pm. At the Hikkim polling station, which is the highest polling station at around 15,000 ft height, 267 of the total 333 voters exercised their franchise, whereas at the Ka polling station in Kinnaur district, which had just 18 voters, it was 100% turn out.
District-wise, highest turnout was in Sirmaur (81.48%), followed by Solan (80.34%), Kullu (78.74%), Mandi (76.95%) and Chamba (75.25%). The highest percentage of polling among the constituencies was 94.80% in Nalagarh in Solan district, while the lowest polling percentage of 58.77% was in Shimla (urban).
The remote districts of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti, where the minimum temperatures have already dipped below the freezing point, saw 74.20% and 68% turnout respectively. In all 459 candidates, including 27 women, are in the fray with parties like the Trinamool Congress and the National Congress Party making a debut in the state’s electoral politics.
Interestingly, both the key contestants, chief minister PK Dhumal and PCC president Virbharda Singh cast their votes at places which did not fall in their constituencies.
Virbhadra Singh cast vote at his native place in Rampur town, while he is contesting from Shimla (rural) seat and Dhumal exercised his franchise in Samirpur, now part of Bhoranj constituency, though he is contesting from Hamirpur constituency.