Himachal goes to polls, 105 independents in the fray
The polling for the 68 seats of Himachal Pradesh assembly began amid tight security on Sunday.Electors across the state could be seen reaching polling stations even before voting started at 8 am Poll officials said there has been no report of any delay in starting the poll process. The polling will end at 5 pm.chandigarh Updated: Nov 04, 2012 14:52 IST
The polling for the 68 seats of Himachal Pradesh assembly began amid tight security on Sunday.
Electors across the state could be seen reaching polling stations even before voting started at 8 am Poll officials said there has been no report of any delay in starting the poll process. The polling will end at 5 pm.
Poll officials are expecting heavy polling as the weather is clear and sunny.
A record number of 459 candidates, including 27 women, are in the fray.
With 105 independents in the fray for the assembly polls in Himachal on Sunday, all eyes are set on them to see if they will turn into game changers for the Congress and the BJP.
There are 105 independents contesting for the 68-member Himachal Assembly, including two dozen rebels of both BJP and Congress.
Independents have always played a crucial role in the elections. 16 out of 147 independents won elections in 1967, polling 38.10% of the total votes. In 1972 again, seven out of 148 Independents were elected to the assembly, polling 28.27% of the votes.
Highest number of 205 independents were in the fray in 1982 and six were elected, polling 14.23% votes.
The Election Commission has set up 7,253 polling stations for 46,08,359 electors, including 23,76,587 men.
Of these, 767 have been declared hypersensitive, an official euphemism to indicate possible trouble spots. The maximum numbers of hypersensitive stations are 197 in Kangra District.
As many as 9,191 electronic voting machines are deployed.
The Hikkam polling station, at an altitude of 14,567 feet in Lahaul-Spiti, is the highest polling station. It has 344 voters.
Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan said the state has 9,997 electors above the age of 89 years, while in the age of 90 years there are 1,642 electors.
He said 8,355 electors were above the age of 90 years.
The Sullah assembly constituency in Kangra district has highest 89,293 electors in the state, while Lahaul-Spiti assembly constituency has the minimum of 22,344 electors.
Chauhan said 109,115 voters are between the age group of 18 and 19 and 1,154,162 voters are in the age of 30 and 39.
He said Shyam Saran, 95, from Kalpa in Kinnaur district is the oldest voter in the state. He was among the first to vote after country's independence in the 1951 elections.
The Ka polling station of Kinnaur has the lowest number of 18 electors.
More than 60 companies of central paramilitary forces, including the ITBP and CRPF, have been deployed to ensure free and fair elections.
Votes for the election will be counted Dec 20.
In 2007, the BJP won 41 seats, the Congress 23, the BSP one and independents three. The lone BSP legislator later joined the BJP. At that time, the poll percentage was 71.61%: men 68.36% and women 74.01%.