Targeting each other on corruption, BJP and Congress contesting all 68 seats
All arrangements have been completed for Sunday’s Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, where over 46 lakh voters will exercise their franchise.
Chief Minister and BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal and the former Chief Minister and Congress leader Virbhadra Singh have campaigned hard to woo voters. Both the ruling BJP and the Congress have raised the issue of corruption against each other.
Chief Electoral Officer Narendra Chauhan told journalists on Saturday that 7,253 booths had been set up for the 68 constituencies, the total number of electorate being 46,08,359. Polling parties had already reached their constituencies.
The BJP and the Congress have fielded candidates in all constituencies. The BSP is contesting in 66, the CPI in seven, the CPI(M) in 15, the NCP in 13, the AITMC in 25, the SP in 14, the HLP in 36, the Lok Jan Shakti Party in 17, the Himachal Swabhiman Party in 16, the Shiv Sena in four, the Bharatiya Bahujan Party in two, and the Indian Justice Party and the Hindustan Nirman Dal in one each.
The CEO said 459 candidates (425 men and 34 women) were in the fray, besides 106 Independents. The State had 100 per cent coverage of voter ID cards. About 11,000 electronic voting machines would be used.
Kangra district has the highest number of 1,548 booths, followed by Mandi (1,069) and Shimla (992). Chamba district has 572 booths, Sirmaur 518, Solan 515, Hamirpur 514, Bilaspur 351, the tribal district of Kinnaur 118, and Lahaul Spiti only 71 booths. An auxiliary booth has been set up at the tourist resort of Kasauli in Solan district.
Mr. Chauhan said 1,310 booths had been declared sensitive and 767 hypersensitive.
The Hikkim polling station in the Lahaul and Spiti constituency is situated at a height of 14,567 feet and has 344 voters.
The Sulah constituency has the highest number of 89,293 electors and the Lahaul & Spiti, the lowest — 22,344.
The CEO said 95-year-old Shyam Saran from Kalpa was the oldest voter in the State. He was among the first to vote after Independence in the 1951 election. Now, there were 1,09,115 voters between the age group 18-19 and 11,54,162 voters aged between 30 and 39.