Polling picks up in HP, 35% voters exercise franchise

Polling picks up in HP, 35% voters exercise franchise

Shimla, PTI: Moderate to heavy polling was recorded in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday with 35% voters exercising their franchise till 1 pm.

The polling was peaceful but there were reports of malfunctioning of EVMs and VVAPTs from several places and polling could not be held in Gondla polling booth in tribal Lahaul and Spiti district. The EVM was replaced but after three votes it again developed some snag. The EVM was being repaired and polling would commence soon, election officials said.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal cast their votes at Rampur and Samirpur respectively. Shyam Sharan Negi (101), the first voter of India, cast his vote for the 15th time in assembly polls at Kalpa in Kinnaur district.

Shimla district recorded the highest polling of 36 per cent.

The largest Kangra district recorded 22 per cent voting while Kinnaur recorded 35% polling.

Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Mandi, Una, Solan and Sirmaur districts recorded 26%, 29%, 32%, 35% and 30% polling till noon while Theog constituency in Shimla recorded highest 42% polling. Polling has picked up since noon.

The ruling Congress led by the chief minister and the BJP led with former chief minister Dhumal are contesting all 68 seats while the BSP is contesting 42 seats, followed by the CPI(M) 14, Swabhiman Party and Lok Gathbandhan Party six each and the CPI-3.

There is straight contest only in one constituency (Jhanduta) while the maximum number of 12 candidates is in fray in Dharamsala.