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Booth managers look to improve turnout

india Updated: May 13, 2009 01:49 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
Booth managers look to improve turnout

The time for campaigning and claims and counter claims has passed. Star campaigners including Congress' Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, BJP's L.K. Advani and Narendra Modi, BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party boss Mulayam Singh Yadav have addressed their rallies and gone. Now, it's over to the state's 57.31 lakh voters.

The parties have shifted their focus to the polling booths 'managers' to ensure that voters turn out in large numbers and cast their ballot in the 9,000-plus booths across the state, said BJP's state media advisory committee chairman Devendra Bhasin.

With the weather predicted to be pleasant, polling percentage is expected to be higher than in the 2004 election, when the average polling percentage was 48 per cent. "There were light showers in several parts of the state on Sunday and Monday. But the weather is likely to remain clear on the day of polling," said Anand Kumar Sharma, director of state meteorological office.

Uttarakhand has always witnessed moderate polling with 65.56 per cent in Haridwar in 1977 being the highest for any seat. The lowest turnout recorded in the state was at Almora in 1957 - only 24 per cent voted.

The high profile candidates in the fray are Congress' Harish Rawat (Haridwar), Vijay Bahuguna (Tehri) and Satpal Maharaj (Pauri) and BJP's Bacchi Singh Rawat (Nainital) and Jaspal Rana (Tehri).

While Bahuguna is aiming to retain his seat, Rawat and Maharaj with several earlier losses are hoping to resurrect their political careers.