Shimla: Other than a report of booth capturing in Solan district and minor poll related violence at three places in Kangra district, by and large polling concluded peacefully in 65 assembly segments of the second phase of elections, here in Himachal.
In a late evening briefing, Manisha Nanda, chief electoral officer said â€œthe polling was peaceful.â€ Initial reports indicated that the turnout was between 65 to 67 percent,â€ she said adding that as there were long queues of voters in many places, voting beyond 5 p.m. was permitted.
Late evening reports of booth capturing surfaced from Sandholi village in Doon constituency.
Ranvir Thakur, a resident of the region said the Sandholi polling booth was captured by supporters of one party and the supporters of a rival party have registered a compliant with election commission. The village happens to be the native place of Lajja Ram, the congress candidate from the constituency, said Thakur.
However, Nanda in her media briefing only mentioned that three poll related FIR in Kangra district were registered in the day.
She said that in one case Vipin Parmar, the BJP candidate in Sulah constituency had registered a police complaint against Inder Singh, a congress worker. In another case Sanjay Rana and Jagdish Chand Sephia, election candidates in the Thural constituency were involved.
Polling was slow in the first two hours with only a 10 to 15 percent turnout, but as the day warmed up it picked up and by 2 p.m. was recorded at 45 percent, said Nanda.
Tabulation of preliminary data showed that polling was about between 65-67 percent in Hamirpur, 65-66 percent in Kangra and 55 to 60 percent in Shimla district, said Nanda.
Polling party from Bara Bangal and 7 polling stations in Dodra Kawar would be airlifted on Thursday she added.
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his parliamentarian wife Pratibha Singh cast their vote in Rampur where as Prem Kumar Dhumal, a BJP parliamentarian and chief ministerial aspirant cast his vote in Samirpur village of Hamirpur.
The chief minister is contesting from Rohru where as Dhumal is in the fray from Bamsan seat.
Congressman Anand Sharma, who happens to be the countryâ€™s Minister For State For Foreign Affairs was at a loss at the polling booth after arriving early as he did not have an identity proof or election identity to certify his voter credentials.
The polling officials did not permit the minister to cast his vote till half an hour later when his staff scurried to fetch an identity proof for Sharma.
The election department had deployed about 40,000 staff and set up 5,934 polling stations for conduct of the elections.
The polling station with maximum height was Tepa at 12000 feet in Rajnagar constituency of Chamba district where as the one with the minimum height was Nalti at 700 feet in Hamirpur constituency.
In a voter list of 44,77,335, there were 22,05,910 female electors, said Nanda. Of the 324 candidates in the fray, 25 were women candidates, she added.
Polling for the first phase to the three tribal seats of Bharmaur, Lahaul and Spiti, and Kinnaur was held on Nov 14.
In 2003, the voter turnout recorded was 74.5 percent. Out of the 68 seats, Congress had won 43 seats, BJP 16 and independents nine seats.
In the election campaign, the Congress attempted to highlight the development works carried out in the last five years while the BJP did not spare the ruling party on issues like price rise, corruption and growing unemployment.
At the auxiliary polling station set up in Bara Bangal by airlifting men and poll material to enfranchise voters living under snowbound condition at 9,000 feet, as many as 42 out of the 45 voters had cast their votes, by afternoon, said Nanda.
At another auxiliary polling station set up for lepers in Kasauli, the voting was 100 percent. Doctor Vijay Singh deputed to take care of the voting process at the centre reported that all 13 lepers, which included 2 blind men had cast their vote within an hour. Vir Singh a ninty year old resident of the leper home claimed to have voted for the first time.
At the â€œSath Kutheraâ€ auxiliary polling station in Jawali constituency on an island in Pong Dam for which boats were deployed the turnout recorded by afternoon was that 61 of the 66 voters had cast their vote, said Nanda.
As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post.
Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.