Himachal Pradesh Elections: At 75.6%, state registers all-time high polling

Published on Nov 13, 2022 11:48 PM IST

Himachal Pradesh Elections 2022: Women (76.8%) outnumber men (72.4%) again; Shimla (Urban) records the lowest 62.53% turnout

EVMs and VVPATs being carried to strongroom via Air Force Helicopter from Lahaul Spiti after the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections on Sunday. (ANI)
EVMs and VVPATs being carried to strongroom via Air Force Helicopter from Lahaul Spiti after the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections on Sunday. (ANI)

Voters in Himachal broke all previous records to register an all-time high turnout of 75.6% in the assembly elections, since 1967, on Saturday. The voting percentage is likely to increase further as the Election Commission of India (ECI) is yet to receive complete postal ballots.

The voting percentage is marginally above the 75.57% voter turnout recorded in the 2017 assembly elections. “The approximate poll percentage in the state stands at 75.6%,” Maneesh Garg, chief electoral officer, said, adding, “The poll percentage through EVMs was 74.6%. Besides this, 1% of postal ballots had been received already taking the overall turnout to 75.6%, so far. Nearly 2% of postal ballots are yet to be received.”

The women voters once again outnumbered men when it came to voting percentage. While 72.4% of men exercised their franchise, 76.8% of women cast their ballots.

Among all the 68 constituencies, Doon in Solan district recorded the highest 85.25% turnout. The assembly segment recorded a polling percentage of 88.65 in the previous elections, while Arki witnessed the highest 94.09% polling percentage in the 2017 elections when Congress stalwart and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh fought from there.

Meanwhile, Shillai recorded the second-highest polling percentage of 84.21%. Seraj, the home turf of chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and Sri Nainadeviji in Bilaspur district, are joint third recording 82.10% polling percentage. Nahan, where former BJP state president Rajeev Bindal is seeking a third term, recorded an 81.45% turnout.

Shimla (Urban), which comprises the capital city, recorded a 62.53% voter turnout, the lowest among all 68 constituencies. The assembly segment saw a drop of nearly one per cent against the 63.93% voter turnout in 2017.

Shimla is followed by the Baijanth (SC) seat in Kangra, which recorded 63.46% voter turnout, while Jasinghpur recorded a polling percentage of 65.31%, followed by Solan (SC), 66.84%, and Sarkaghat in Mandi 68.06%.

The state election department in the 2022 Vidhan Sabha Elections (VSE) had laid a lot of focus on the constituencies with low voter turnout in VSE 2017. The state election department launched its SVEEP and voter awareness activities under its unique programme UTSAV (Universal Transparent Elections through Systematic Awareness of Voters) and specially focused on these 11 assembly constituencies of the state where traditionally voter turnout had been low.

A comparative analysis of these constituencies viz: Dharampur, Jaisinghpur, Shimla, Baijnath, Bhoranj, Solan, Kasumpati, Sarkaghat, Jaswan Pragpur, Hamirpur and Barsar revealed that out of these 11 assembly constituencies, voter turnout improved in nine of them by up to 7%.

The percentage point increase in the Dharampur assembly constituency increased from 63.61% in 2017 to 70.54% in 2022.

Similarly, in Jaisinghpur, the percentage increased from 63.79% in 2017 to 65.31%, while in Bhoranj it increased from 65.04% in 2017 to 68.55% in the present assembly elections. In Solan, the turnout saw a marginal increase from 66.45% to 66.84%, while in Barsar it increased from 69.06 % to 71.17%. Hamirpur also saw the turnout increase from 68.52% to 71.28%, while in Jaswan-Pragpur it increased from 68.41% to 73.67%. Sarkaghat saw a percentage increase from 67.23% to 68.06%, and in Kasumpati the increase was from 66.86% to 68.24%. However, in Shimla (U) and Baijnath, the percentage dipped slightly. In Shimla (Urban) the turnout dipped from 63.93% in 2017 to 62.53% in 2022 and in Baijnath it dipped from 64.92% to 63.46%.

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    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

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