Sunday, December 10, 2023

Polling begins in Himachal to elect 68-member Assembly

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | November 12, 2022 11:16 AM

SHIMLA: Over 50 lakh voters in Himachal Pradesh will exercise their franchise on Saturday to elect the 68-member Assembly in the single-phase poll that began at 8 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m.

"Despite the cold weather and minor hiccups at polling stations at some places, there was no report of any delay in starting the poll process," an electoral officer told IANS.

Out of 412 candidates in the fray, 24 are women and 388 men.

A total of 55,92,828 voters will elect their representatives. Of them, 193,106 are first-time voters in the age of 18-19 years.

There are 121,409 voters above 80 years, while 56,501 others with disabilities.

The main contest is between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress.

Facing strong winds of anti-incumbency, the BJP leadership led by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur seems to be banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "charisma", while the main Opposition Congress is eyeing to return to the helm by wooing its 2.5-lakh strong government employees, the state's crucial vote bank, with a promise of restoring the old pension scheme.

The senior leadership of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is in the fray for the first time in the Assembly polls, has been missing from the state with its leaders focusing on strengthening its vote bank in another poll-bound Gujarat.

In the 2017 Assembly polls, the BJP had won 44 seats, the Congress 21, the CPM one and Independents two.

The voter turnout was 75.57 per cent.

The counting of votes cast on Saturday will be held on December 8.

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