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Around 71% polling in Himachal

twitter-logoPTI | May 19, 2019 | Updated 22:23 IST

(Eds: Updating turnout, adding Sirmaur data) Shimla, May 19 (PTI) The four Lok Sabha seats of Himachal Pradesh witnessed a voter turnout of around 71 per cent on Sunday, higher than the 2014 general election's polling percentage of 64.45, officials said. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur claimed that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would repeat its 2014 poll show by winning all the four seats with record margins. A state Congress leader claimed that his party would emerge victorious in the state. According to officials, the four parliamentary seats witnessed a voter turnout of around 71 per cent. Interestingly, a turnout of 142.85 per cent was recorded in the world's highest polling station in Tashigang village of Lahaul and Spiti district, a district official said. There are 49 registered voters in the Tashigang polling station, of which 36 voters -- 73.5 per cent -- cast their votes. Moreover, 34 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. Sirmaur, meanwhile, recorded the highest voter turnout in the state with a polling percentage of 74.72. 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 CORR HMB

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