Himachal Pradesh Elections: At icy heights, peak enthusiasm
Himachal Pradesh Elections 2022: Tashigang, which has the world’s highest polling station at 15,256 feet (4,650-metre) in the border district of Lahaul and Spiti, recorded 100% polling with all 52 voters exercising their franchise
DHARAMSHALA: The electorates in remote parts of Himachal Pradesh braved extreme cold climatic conditions, wading through the snow-covered path to record the highest turnout.
The Election Department had set up 7,881 polling stations for the polls to the 68-member assembly.
Tashigang, which has the world’s highest polling station at 15,256 feet (4,650-metre) in the border district of Lahaul and Spiti, recorded 100% polling with all 52 voters exercising their franchise.
Located 29km from the India-China border, the polling station covers two villages of Tashigang and Gete.
All the 52 registered voters, 30 men and 22 women, exercised their franchise.
The polling station in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections had 48 voters. It had also seen a 100% turnout in the Mandi Lok Sabha by-election, earlier this year.
Kunzun Choden, a resident of Gete village and a first-time voter, said that she was happy to exercise her franchise. “I am happy that I can now vote to elect my representative. Voting is very important for the betterment of the state and country and strengthening of democracy,” she said.
Lahaul-Spiti assistant returning officer Abhishek Verma said that the district election authority had declared Tashigang a model polling booth with all kinds of facilities for the voters, including a crèche.
“Entire polling staff and the voters came in their traditional dress and traditional cuisines were served in the lunch by local Mahila Mandal,” he said.
Conducting smooth polling in extreme conditions, including sub-zero temperature and low oxygen is a great feat,’ he said, hailing the polling staff.
The tribal Lahaul-Spiti district had recorded an overall 77.85% turnout till 5 pm.
In Chask Bhatori, a remote polling booth in the tribal Pangi valley of Chamba district, trudged through the snow-covered path to cast their votes.
Located in the Sechu Panchayat, Chask Bhatori has 90 eligible voters of which 70 (75.26%) exercised their franchise till the filling of this report.
“Kudos to our polling staff, who walked 14-kilometre to reach the polling booth and conducted smooth voting,” said DC Rana, Chamba deputy commissioner-cum-district electoral officer as he appreciated the participation of voters despite extreme weather conditions.
Bara-Bhangal registers a 90.7% turnout
Remotest among all, the Bara-Bhangal, where the polling staff had to be airlifted in the helicopter, registered 90.7% polling percentage till the filling of this report. Kangra district electoral officer Nipun Jindal said of the 65 eligible voters enrolled in Bara-Bhagal, 59 exercised their franchise.
Tucked away deep in the Dhauladhar Mountains, it takes three to four days to reach Bara-Bhagal on foot. The village falls in the Baijnath assembly constituency and is around 70 kilometres from Bir, the nearest station connected by road.