Highest percentage of polling, 94.80, was reported from Nalagarh

Elections to the Himachal Pradesh Assembly took place peacefully on Sunday except for minor EVM snags at some places. About 75 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise and there are reports of heavy polling in rural areas. Polling began on a slow note in the chilly morning but picked up in the afternoon.

Chief Electoral Officer Narendra Chauhan told journalists here that precise district-wise and constituency-wise figures for turnout would be given later as compilation of data from the far-flung districts was on. Elections were held simultaneously in all 68 constituencies, including tribal districts of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti. There were no reports of any untoward incident except scuffles at some places between BJP and Congress activists.

Great interest in polling was noticed in the remote and tribal areas. The polling percentage was as high as 81.48 in Sirmaur District.

The highest percentage, 94.80, was reported from the Nalagarh constituency and the lowest, 58.77, in Shimla Urban.

Mr. Chauhan said all 7,253 polling parties, carrying the electronic voting machines, were expected to reach the collection centres soon. Tight security would be provided at the counting centres. The counting would be held on December 20.

According to the information received in Shimla, the turnout in Chamba district was 75.25 per cent, Kangra 72.68, Lahaul & Spiti 68, Kullu 78.74, Mandi 76.95, Hamirpur 70.33, Una, 75.06, Bilaspur 73, Solan 80.34, Sirmaur 81.48, Shimla 69.85 and Kinnaur district 74.28.

CPI(M)’s complaint

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has filed a complaint that election observers in the State capital acted in a partisan manner.

Senior Left leader Onkar Shad, in his letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, alleged that observers S.P. Singh, IAS, and S.N. Singh, IPS, had throughout functioned in a prejudiced manner and also threatened CPI(M) cadres. He condemned the unprovoked arrest of secretary of the party’s local area committee, Vijendra Mehra, in the Krishna Nagar booth in the Shimla constituency.

The party alleged that Election Commission officials had destroyed the CPI(M) posters but they did not touch the large and expensive hoardings of the BJP and the Congress.