HP bypolls: Arki records highest turnout till 10 am

Himachal Pradesh bypolls: Arki assembly seat records highest turnout till 10 am, Mandi LS seat lowest

The counting of votes for all seats will be held on November 2

Polling parties leave for polling stations on the eve of Mandi seat by-elections, in Mandi. Credit: PTI Photo

The Arki assembly seat in Himachal Pradesh witnessed highest voter turnout of over 8 per cent while Mandi Lok Sabha seat saw the lowest polling at over 5 per cent till 10 am on Saturday as voting for the bypolls to four seats in Himachal Pradesh started on a slow pace, officials said.

Bypolls to Mandi Lok Sabha and Arki, Fatehpur, and Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh began at 8 am, they said.

Mandi recorded 5.82 per cent voting, while the turnout in Fatehpur, Arki, and Jubbal-Kotkhai was 8.20, 8.33 and 7.02 percent respectively in the first two hours, they added.

Voting is underway in a peaceful manner in pleasant weather conditions and is gaining momentum, they said.

Also read: Congress fields ex-CM Virbhadra Singh's wife for Mandi Lok Sabha bypoll

A total of 12,99,756 voters for Mandi Lok Sabha, 87,222 for Fatehpur, 92,609 for Solan (Arki) and 70,965 voters for Jubbal-Kotkhai Vidhan Sabha seats may exercise their right to franchise till 6 pm.

According to officials, 2,484 polling stations and 312 auxiliary polling stations have been set up for bypolls.

The by-elections were necessitated following the death of sitting members.

Meanwhile, tight security arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the by-elections.

State Chief Electoral Officer C Palrasu informed that 50 per cent of the polling stations will be connected through web-casting. This facility will be available in 1,383 of the total 2,796 polling stations, he added.

The counting of votes for all seats will be held on November 2.

A total of 18 candidates are in the fray, including 12 for the three assembly seats and six for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat.

A direct contest is expected between the ruling BJP and Congress on all seats except Jubbal-Kotkhai where rebel BJP candidate Chetan Singh Bragta is trying his luck as an independent candidate.

However, all eyes are on the Mandi parliamentary bypoll as the constituency is the home turf of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

The BJP has fielded Kargil war hero Brigadier Khushal Singh Thakur from Mandi against Congress candidate Pratibha Singh, the wife of late chief minister Virbhadra Singh.

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