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Around 68% polling in Himachal

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 19, 2019  | 20:51 IST

Shimla, May 19 (PTI) The four Lok Sabha seats of Himachal Pradesh witnessed a turnout of around 68 per cent on Sunday, officials said, higher than the previous general election's polling percentage of 64.45 per cent. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur claimed that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party would win all the four seats with a record margin by repeating its performance in 2014. A state Congress leader claimed that his party would emerge victorious in the state this time. According to officials, the four parliamentary seats witnessed a turnout of around 68 per cent. The turnout might vary a bit after compiling the entire data. Interestingly, a turnout of 132 percent was recorded in the world's highest polling station in Tashigang village of Lahaul and Spiti district till 3 pm, a district official said. The latest information is awaited. There are 49 registered voters in the Tashigang polling station, of which 33 voters cast their votes. Moreover, 32 members of the election staff deployed at the polling station and several nearby booths cast their vote after showing the election duty certificate (EDCs), the official added. The Tashigang polling station is situated at a height of 15,256 feet above the sea level, state Assistant Chief Electoral Officer Harbans Lal Dhiman said. The temperature was below freezing point at Tashigang when the polling began at 7 am. The voters came to the polling station while wearing their traditional attire for exercising their right to franchise. A bridegroom exercised his right to franchise at the Kothi polling station in Kullu district. Before proceeding to the bride's village, Anil, 28, of Kothi village near Manali, led his entire wedding procession to the polling booth number eight in the city and cast his vote, besides making his wedding companions to do the same. "Anil cast his vote before proceeding for his marriage," a district election official said, adding that the groom reached the polling booth with many of his wedding procession members. Shyam Saran Negi, the first person to vote in the country's first general election, cast his vote at the Kalpa polling booth of Kinnaur district in Mandi constituency. The 101-year-old was given a warm welcome by the election staff at the booth. However, the voters of a village near the Sino-India border have boycotted the election as the government allegedly failed to find a permanent solution to frequent floods they face. Located at an altitude of 10,000 feet and around 350 km from Shimla, voters at Geu village in Lahaul and Spiti district said they had been demanding their resettlement, but their demands remained unheard. The chief minister and his family members cast his vote at Bharari in Seraj assembly segment of Mandi district. Voting was delayed at nine polling stations after malfunction of EVMs, but it restarted after the faulty machines were replaced, a state election officer said. In Hatli Jamwal area of Nurpur assembly segment in Kangra district, the polling was stopped in the morning for about an hour due to faulty voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines. It was immediately reported and the VVPAT was changed. In Khannai area, two visually-impaired voters -- Saraj Deen, 70, and Shaver Deen, 41 -- were escorted by officials from their house in a government vehicle to the polling station to cast their votes. There are 53,30,154 registered voters in the state, officials said. As many as 45 candidates are in fray for the Shimla, Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra seats. PTI DJI HMB

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