M A I N   N E W S

High on poll fever, hills smash records
66% polling in Himachal
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 7
Himachal surpassed previous records on Wednesday, as 66 per cent voters made their way to polling booths, the highest turnout in 16 Lok Sabha elections held since Independence.

The highest turnout recorded in the state was in 1998 when 65.31 per cent of the electorate cast their vote. Polling in the 2009 and 2004 election stood at 58.4 per cent and 59.7 per cent, respectively. Polling was completely peaceful and no report of violence was received. Balloting for the four Lok Sabha seats and the Sujanpur Assembly segment in Hamirpur started on a brisk note at 7 am, became sluggish around 11 am, but only to pick up in the afternoon. Clear skies and pleasant weather also ensured a good turnout in the tribal districts of Kinnaur (67.2%), Lahaul-Spiti (61.68%) and Bharmour (65.23%). The Sujanpur segment that is witnessing a bypoll registered 69.83 per cent polling. The highest polling was registered in Una district (70.97%) followed by Sirmour (69.64%) and Hamirpur a close third at 69.16%.

The lowest turnout was witnessed in the districts of Shimla (59.24%) followed by Lahaul-Spiti (61.94%) and Kullu (62.17%). The fate of 38 candidates for the Lok Sabha and four for the Assembly bypoll are sealed in electronic voting machines which will be counted on May 16.

The electorate of state capital Shimla, like any other urban centre in the country, showed relative indifference towards elections by registering one of the state’s lowest turnout of 59.43 per cent.

The main contenders include Shanta Kumar (BJP) in Kangra and Congress candidate and CM Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh in Mandi. Incumbent BJP MPs from Hamirpur and Shimla, Anurag Singh Thakur (PK Dhumal’s MP-son) and Virender Kashyap, are re-contesting from their respective constituencies.

1 dead in Bihar firing

One person was killed in police firing outside a booth in Ramnagara village under Bathnaha police station area in Sitamarhi district in Bihar during voting, Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Ravindra Kumar said.





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