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Updated: March 6, 2012 08:32 IST

Counting of votes begins in Uttarakhand

PTI
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The Hindu

The counting of votes for 70 Assembly seats in Uttarakhand began on Tuesday morning amid tight security.

The counting began at 8 a.m. and would decide the fate of 788 candidates with the main opposition Congress and the ruling BJP being the main contenders for the power.

“The counting has just begun,” state chief Electoral Officer Radha Raturi said.

There are no special arrangements made by the election commission to show trends for the counting, Ms. Raturi said.

A total of 16 centres across the 13 districts have been set up for counting of votes, she said.

“During the first half-an-hour, postal ballots would be counted and later the votes casted through EVMs would be counted,” Ms. Raturi said.

In Uttarakhand, the polling was held on January 30.

The fate of Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri, who is facing an intense tussle against Surendra Singh Negi from Kotdwar seat would decided.

Significantly, the ruling BJP had carried its entire campaign on the shoulders of Khanduri which was billed as ‘Khanduri Hain Zaruri’

Besides, Mr. Khanduri former Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and several ministers are also facing stiff competition in different constituencies.

Rudraprayag constituency in Garhwal region has become a key constituency where leader of the opposition Harak Singh Rawat is pitted against his brother-in-law and irrigation minister Matbar Singh Kandari.

“Since Rawat is a hot contender for the chief minister’s post, the result will decide whether he remains in the race or not,” said a Congress observer.

Other key constituencies would be Doiwala where Nishank is facing a challenge from Hira Singh Bist of Congress and S P Singh, a Congress rebel candidate.

Another interesting contest is being witnessed at Devprayag seat from where revenue minister Diwakar Bhatt is locked in a hot triangular contest against Shurvir Singh Sajwan and Mantri Prasad Naithani, a Congress rebel candidate.

Gangotri seat would decide the fate of two friends turned political rivals -- Gopal Singh Rawat (sitting BJP MLA) and Vijaypal Singh Sajwan of Congress, who had won in 2002.

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