Shimla: Forecast of a clear day on polling day 7 May, 2014 over much of the hill tracts in Himachal Pradesh have improved the chances of a good voter turnout for the fiercely contested poll that has a registered electorate of 48.10 lakhs who are eligible to cast their franchise for the four seats.
Disclosing the logistic involved for holding a free and fair poll, Narinder Chauhan, chief electoral officer said that the election authorities had set up 7382 regular polling stations and 3 auxiliary polling stations in the state for conduct of polls.
The auxiliary polling stations set up at Bada Bangal, Jutogh and Dharampur have been set up to support existing polling states and considering the special circumstances involved, said Chauhan.
The state meteorological office has forecast a clear sky over plains, low and high hill regions but in at isolated places in middle hills there were chances of rain accompanied by thunder.
The temperature range recorded today was Kalpa in Kinnaur had the lowest temperature at 6.2 degree Celsius and the highest 36.4 Celsius was recorded at Mandi.
Kaa, a polling station in the high altitude region of Kinnaur, with only 17 voters happens to be polling station with the lowest number of electors registered in the state.
Given the tough logistics involved in holding an election in Himachal Pradesh, especially in land locked valleys where roads had not penetrated yet, Chauhan said “to facilitate the 478 voters registered at Kashapath village, in a remote area of Rampur assembly segment of Shimla district, the poll party has had to trek 24 kilometers to get to the place and set up a polling booth.”
To access and set up a polling booth at Kuthera under Fatehpur assembly segment in Kangra district for the 73 voters registered there, the polling party has had to travel by boat and reach the island formed by the backwaters of a dam reservoir.
“Polling would start early tomorrow at 7 a.m. and would end late by 6 p.m,” said the chief electoral officer responsible for conduct of the poll.
Of the 48.10 lakh voters, there are 24,23,376 male voters registered and 23,20,835 female voters.
The over 100 year old Shyam Saran Negi, from Kalpa village in Kinnaur district who was among the first voters to cast his vote in the first election after India attained independence in 1947, is also expected to vote on tomorrow, making him a record holder of sorts by being the only person to have voted in each and every election India has held till date.
In all there are 38 candidates in the fray but the main contest is between the traditional rival parties BJP and Congress.
With Anurag Thakur, son of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, and Pratibha Singh, wife of current chief minister Virbhadra Singh in the fray, the election campaign has witnessed sharp personal barbs thrown by campaigners at each other.
Former union minister and octogenarian senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar is also in the fray.
In the outgoing Lok Sabha, BJP held the seats of Shimla, Hamirpur and Kangra while Congress had won only the Mandi seat.