Lok Sabha Election 2019

143% turnout in world’s highest polling booth

Voters pose for a group photograph after exercising their franchise at Tashigang, world’s highest polling station, on May 19, 2019. Photo: PIB/PTI

Voters pose for a group photograph after exercising their franchise at Tashigang, world’s highest polling station, on May 19, 2019. Photo: PIB/PTI  

Spike in poll percentage attributed to the desire of poll officials deployed in and around Tashiganag to cast their votes at the world’s highest polling station at a dizzying height of 15,256 ft.

It is strange but true! The world’s highest polling station at 15,256 feet in Tashigang village of Himachal Pradesh on May 19 recorded an unbelievable 142.85% voter turnout. And all votes were duly declared valid.

In another unique feature of the country’s democratic exercise, the smallest polling booth Ka, located near Tashigang in Spiti valley itself and having only 16 registered voters, the poll percentage stood at over 81.25%. A total of 13 voters cast their votes in Ka.

Against merely 49 registered voters in the Tashigang electoral roll, a total of 70 voters cast their votes at the village polling booth, said Kaza SubDivisional Mangistrate Jeewan Negi. The unbelievable spike in the poll percentage was attributed to the desire of many poll officials, deployed at Tashiganag and other neighbouring polling booths, to cast their votes at the world’s highest polling station, located at a dizzying height of 15,256 ft.

Out of the 49 registered voters of Tashigang village, a total of 36 villagers cast their votes. They included 21 men and 15 women, who together accounted for nearly 74% turnout among village voters.

The poll officials cast their votes at Tashigang polling booth after showing their election duty certificates (EDCs) issued to them by concerned assistant returning officers, Mr. Negi added.

Tashigang is a village near an ancient monastery in Himachal Pradesh. It is the highest settlement in Spiti Valley near the India-Tibet border with villages Nako and Khab located nearby and is connected to Shimla by National Highway 22.

Tashigang acquired the unique distinction of becoming the highest polling station during the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections in 2017, when the erstwhile polling station Hikkim at the highest altitude of 14,400 ft was replaced by Tashigang due to some technical reasons, said Himachal Pradesh Assistant Chief Electoral Officer Harbans Lal Dhiman. Hikkim is located 160 km from Tashigang.

Polling at Tashigang began at 7 a.m. when the temperature was below freezing point. Voters came to the polling station wearing their traditional attire to beat the chilly weather.

Both Tashigang and Ka polling stations fall under the Mandi parliamentary seat where the highest number of 17 candidates among the four Lok Sabha seats in the State are in the fray. Mandi is witnessing a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress.

Former Union Minister Sukh Ram’s grandson Aashray Sharma is fielded as a Congress candidate against sitting BJP MP Ram Swaroop Sharma.

Mr. Aashray’s father Anil Sharma, who was a Minister in the Jai Ram Thakur-led BJP government in Himachal, had to resign from the Cabinet as he was unwilling to campaign against his son to favour the BJP candidate.

Mandi being his home, the Himachal Chief Minister’s prestige is at stake with Mr. Sukh Ram too leaving no stone unturned to ensure his grandson’s victory.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 8:20:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/143-turnout-in-worlds-highest-polling-booth/article27179135.ece

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