Polling in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh started on a slow note with about 10 per cent of the voters exercising their franchise in the first two hours on Sunday. However, the percentage increased to 27.57% by 11 am.
Polling to elect the 68-member Assembly is likely to pick up as the day progresses, said election officials.
The electorate comprises 46.08 lakh voters, including 22.31 lakh women. Counting of votes will take place on December 20.
As many as 7253 polling stations have been set up,including in Hikkim in Lahaul and Spiti at a height of over 15,000 feet.
Hikkim the highest polling station recorded only 2.40 % of voting till 9am but reached upto 26.05% by 11 am.
Liyo in the tribal district of kinnaur with 46.4% registered highest percentage of voting in the state till 11 am today.
However, Sirmour district topped among the other 11 districts by recording 30.66% of voting percentage till 11 am ,followed by Chamba and Kinnaur districts which recorded around 29.62% and 29.87% in the same time. The lowest, however, was recorded in Hamirpur district which witnessed only 24.79% in the first three hours( till 11 am) of voting.
In all, 459 candidates are in the fray for the election,27 of them women. In the 2007 poll, BJP had won 41 as against Congress 23, while the independents and BSP had bagged 3 and one seats respectively. The poll percentage in the last election was 71.61 per cent.
The main contest is between the ruling Bharatiya JanataParty (BJP) and the Congress which are contesting all the 68 seats. Led by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, the incumbent BJP is hoping to script history in Himachal by going the Punjab way, where the Akali-BJP combine returned to power.
Himachal has never repeated a government since 1977.Congress leader and five-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh is schedule to cast his ballot at his native place in Rampur town, some 120 km from here, while the Chief Minister will exercise his franchise in Hamirpur.
District wise voting percentage recorded
Lahaul and Spiti 27.35%