Officials walk 15 kms in snow to reach Himachal polling station at 12,000-ft


Of the many abiding images from the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh on Saturday, the one that stood out and went viral across social media platforms was of polling officials heading to the Chasak Batori polling station in Bharmaur Assembly constituency in Chamba district.

In the image, polling officials are seen walking 15 kms in the snow for 6 hours to reach the polling station, which is situated at an altitude of 12,000 ft.

There are a total of 93 registered voters at the polling station. To facilitate last-mile voting, polling officers waded through a thick blanket of snow to reach the station. Out of the 93 voters, 70 exercised their franchise at the station. The turnout was recorded at 75.26 per cent.

Polling for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly concluded on Saturday evening with the overall turnout at 66 per cent, till 5pm.

The EVMs and VVPATs were sealed as voters enthusiastically participated in the festival of democracy.

According to the Election Commission, a total of 7,881 polling stations were installed for the polls. The Kangra district had a maximum of 1,625 polling stations while the Lahaul-Spiti district had the lowest at 92. There were 7,235 polling stations in rural and 646 in urban areas. Besides, three auxiliary polling stations were also set up at Sidhbari (Dharamshala), Bara Bhangal (Baijnath) and Dhillon (Kasauli).

At the world’s highest polling station in Tashigang, a 100 percent voter turnout was recorded.

Polling across 68 seats to elect the new government in Himachal Pradesh began on 8 am amid tight security. A total of 55,92,828 eligible voters cast their votes, said the EC. Of the total number of electorates, 27,37,845 were women, 28,54,945 men and 38 were from the third-gender.

As many 24 women candidates, across parties, were in fray this year.

As part of the security arrangement, 67 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), comprising 6,700 personnel and 15 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed across the state.

A total of 50,000 government employees were put on poll duty while as many as 25,000 police officers were also stationed across the state. Teams from the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF), comprising 800 personnel, were also put on standby.

In 2017, the BJP swept the Himachal polls, bagging 44 of the total 68 seats while Congress managed just 21 seats.

The poll panel had issued a notification on Thursday prohibiting the publication of exit-poll projections in any print and electronic media from 8 am on November 12 and 5 pm on December 5.

The counting of votes for Himachal and Gujarat, which will be conducted in two phases on December 1 and 5, will be done on December 8. (ANI)


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