Delhi: Himachal Pradesh Sunday registered a record high polling of around
75 percent in elections for 68 assembly constituencies, Election
Commission officials said.
The state's Chief Electoral Officer, Narinder Chauhan, told IANS
in Shimla: "The voter turnout was approximately 75 percent."
In New Delhi, Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla told
reporters that the final figure for turnout was likely to go up as
voting in about 200 booths continued even after 5 p.m.
"It is quite possible (that a) record is set. It is already higher
(than the figure of 2007 polls)," Shukla said.
He said the polling had been "absolutely peaceful and completely
There were reports of a minor clash between the Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) and Congress workers at a polling station in Chamba
town, election officials said.
In 2007 assembly polls, the poll percentage was 71.61 percent, in
2003 it was 74.51 percent, in 1998 it was 71.23 percent, in 1993
it was 71.50 percent and in 1990 it was 67.76 percent.
The voter turnout in the state was just nine percent in the first
hour but by noon, it rose to 30 percent and 60 percent by 3 p.m.,
The maximum turnout was in Sirmaur district (81.48 percent),
followed by Solan district (80.34 percent), Kullu district (78.74
percent), Mandi (76.95 percent) and Chamba (75.25 percent).
The state's largest district Kangra, with the maximum number of 15
seats, saw 72.25 percent polling.
"The highest percentage of polling among the constituencies was
94.80 percent in Nalagarh in Solan district, while the lowest
polling percentage of 58.77 percent 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 percent and 68 percent turnout, respectively.
India's highest polling booth in Lahaul-Spiti district recorded 80
percent turnout. At the Hikkim polling station, located at an
altitude of 14,567 feet, 267 voters out of the 333 on the rolls
The Ka polling station in Kinnaur district, which has the lowest
number of 18 electors in the state, saw 100 percent turnout.
A record number of 459 candidates, including 36 women, were in the
The Election Commission set up 7,253 polling stations for
4,608,359 electors, including 2,376,587 men.
The main contest was between the Congress and the ruling BJP.
Congress leader and five-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh cast
his vote at his native place in Rampur town, around 120 km from
Shimla, while Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal exercised his
franchise in Samirpur, now part of Bhoranj constituency.
Virbhadra Singh is contesting the elections from Shimla (rural)
and Dhumal from Hamirpur constituency.
Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma also cast his vote in the
"We will form the government. This is my belief," Sharma told
reporters after casting his ballot.
Taking a jibe at the BJP over its promise of giving induction
stoves to every household if the party returned to power, Sharma
said: "Who will pay for buying utensils required for induction
stove? Will the BJP pay this? It is just misguiding the voters."
Poll officials said Shyam Saran, 95, from Kalpa in Kinnaur
district, one of the oldest voters in the state also cast his
Saran was among the first to vote after the country's independence
in the 1951 general elections.
The election result would be out Dec 20.
In 2007, the BJP won 41 seats, the Congress 23, the BSP one and
Independents three. The lone BSP legislator later joined the BJP.