Over 67% voter turn out in Himachal polls

First-time voters being welcomed as they arrive to cast their vote for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, at Tashi Gang, the world's highest polling booth, in Lahaul and Spiti on Saturday.
First-time voters being welcomed as they arrive to cast their vote for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, at Tashi Gang, the world's highest polling booth, in Lahaul and Spiti on Saturday.ANI

Shimla: Over 67 per cent of more than 55 lakh voters in Himachal Pradesh turned out on Saturday to elect 68 members of the BJP-ruled Assembly in the single-phase polling, officials said.

The percentage would rise as voters were lined up as the polling closed at 5 p.m.

Women turned out in strength in rural areas despite cold climatic conditions in the morning, said poll officials.

Only 4 per cent voting was recorded in first hour of polling. It rose 18 per ent by 11 a.m. and 38 per cent by 1 p.m.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, his wife and two daughters cast their votes at a polling booth in Seraj in Mandi district. From Seraj, the five-time lawmaker is in fray again.

After casting his vote, Thakur urged the voters to come out in big numbers and enthusiastically participate in the “festival of democracy”.

BJP national president Jagat Parkash Nadda, who cast his vote in Bilaspur district, said the stakes are too high for the BJP.

“We are winning the state by breaking the tradition of no government repeating is the challenge that it faces. The BJP went into the polls banking more on PM Narendra Modi, considering the emotional connect he shares with Himachal, where he remained BJP in charge for seven years,” he said.

Ninety-year-old Nazrim Mani and his 87-year-old wife cast their votes at a model polling booth in a school that was opened in 1890 in Kalpa village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, election officials said.

Government Primary School in Kalpa, some 275 km from the state capital in the Kinnaur Assembly constituency, was the first school in the district.

He flashed his wrinkled inked finger after voting.

After casting the vote, Mani appealed to the voters in the state to participate in this festival of democracy with full enthusiasm.

At minus 10-degree Celsius, Tashigang, the world’s highest polling station at a height of 15,256 feet in Lahaul and Spiti district, saw a 100 per cent turnout.

Greeting the first-timers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the voters to participate in the election process.

“Today is the polling day for all the Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh. I request all the voters of Devbhoomi to participate with full enthusiasm in this festival of democracy and create a new record of voting,” he tweeted.

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