Insight Online News
Shimla, Oct 30 : Polling has started for by-elections in Himachal Pradesh for Mandi Lok Sabha and Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly seats on Saturday.
State Chief Electoral Officer C. Palrasu said polling began at 0800 hours and it is running peacefully.
He said a total of 2,484 polling stations and 312 auxiliary polling stations have been set up for by-polls.
Meanwhile, 50 per cent of polling stations will be connected through webcasting.
He said, “This facility will be available in 1,383 polling stations out of the total 2,796 polling stations set up for the by-elections. 48 polling booths have been declared very sensitive, 267 sensitive and 2,481 are under general category.
Tashigang Monastery in tribal Lahaul Spiti district about 15,265 feet from the sea level is world’s highest polling station in Mandi Lok Sabha where 47 voters would cast their votes.
57-Shakti under Banjar Assembly in Kullu district (Mandi Lok Sabha) is the toughest/hardest polling station as polling parities may have to travel around 24 km by foot to conduct the polling.
A total of 18 candidates are in the fray, including 12 for three assembly seats and six for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat.
A tight contest is expected between the ruling BJP and Congress party on all seats except the Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly seat, where rebel BJP candidate Chetan Singh Bragta contends on an independent ticket.
Being the home district of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, Mandi parliamentary seat is expected to be the hottest.
From this parliamentary seat, BJP has fielded Kargil war hero Brigadier Khushal Singh Thakur against Congress candidate Pratibha Singh, who is wife formerChief Minister late Virbhadra Singh.
A total 1,550,556 voters including service voters are eligible to cast their vote including 1,299,756 in Mandi, including 660,743 male and 639,013 female and five others.
In Fatehpur, 87,222, 44,665 male and 42,557 female, will be casting their votes.
In Arki 92,609, 47189 male and 45420 female, will be casting their votes.
As many as 70,965 people, 35329 male and 35636 female, will be casting their votes in Jubbal and Kotikahi.
Besides, 38,305 are first time voters between age group of 18 -19 yrs would cast their vote, including
20502 male, 17802 female and one other.
A total of 40 polling stations are dedicated to women voters. India’s first voter to be escorted to polling station in Kalpa.
India’s first voters Master Shyam Saran Negi (106), who have voted in all the general and assembly by-polls held since 1952, have recently been vaccinated with both doses of Covid-19. They will be casting their votes at Kalpa polling station in Kinnuar to caste vote for Mandi Lok Sabha by-poll.
To make Himachal Pradesh all user friendly, special arrangements have been made to 19,125 specially-abled voters, including 3,407 visually impaired, 2,382 of speech and hearing, 8,669 locomotive impaired, 4,667 others spacial voters. Three special polling station were dedicated to special-abled .
Thirty-six ideal polling stations have also been set up with water, toilet and resting facility would be provided to elderly people having space for children to stay while their parents would caste vote.
Director General of Police, Himachal Pradesh, Sanjay Kundu said tight security arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of polling.
“A total of 17 companies of central paramilitary forces, 6,000 police and 2,539 homeguard personnel been deployed in the state,” he said.
The counting of votes for all seats will be held on the November 2.
The by-polls at the four seats were due as they fell vacant following the deaths of sitting members.