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Saturday, Nov 23, 2019

64.63% voter turnout in Dharamshala, 71.64% in Pachhad

In Dharamshala, the voting percentage was considerably low compared to the 2017 assembly elections when the segment saw 76.3% turnout.

india Updated: Oct 21, 2019 23:46 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Dharamshala and Shimla
Congress candidate Gangu Ram Musafir with his family members and supporters after casting vote in the Pachhad constituency of Sirmaur district on Monday.
Congress candidate Gangu Ram Musafir with his family members and supporters after casting vote in the Pachhad constituency of Sirmaur district on Monday.(HT PHOTO)
         

The Dharamshala and Pachhad assembly constituencies in Himachal Pradesh that went to the bypolls on Monday recorded a voter turnout of 65.39% and 71.64%, amid reports of minor skirmishes between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress workers.

Overall, polling went off peacefully as no incident of violence was reported, officials said.

In Dharamshala, the voting percentage was considerably low compared to the 2017 assembly elections when the segment saw 76.3% turnout.

The polling began at 8am and picked up momentum gradually. While Dharamshala recorded only 7.8% polling till 9am, Pachhad saw 8%.

Polling got delayed at three booths in the segment — Kotwali Bazar, Khaniyara and Bhagsunag — due to malfunctioning in EVMs (electronic voting machines) and VVPAT (voter-verified paper audit trail) machines. A commotion was witnessed at the Khaniyara booth when the polling staff turned back some voters without identity proofs.

Of a total of 81,153 electors, 53,063 cast their votes in the segment, with woman voters (26,640) outnumbering their male counterparts (26,423). Though there are seven candidates, including five independents, in the fray on the seat, the main contest is likely to be between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress. Independent Rakesh Chaudhary, who claims to have a significant voter base, is hoping to queer the pitch for his two rivals.

BJP candidate Vishal Nehria cast his vote at Sidhpur. Speaking to the media, he said, “People will surely vote for the BJP. It would be a mandate in favour of the pro-people policies of the Jai Ram Thakur government,” he said.

Congress nominee Vijay Inder Karan, who also cast his vote at the same booth, claimed that segment has voted for a change and their party will register a victory.

He said the BJP was afraid of a defeat and hence used every trick to lure the voters.

“If elected, I will work for an all-round development of the constituency and restart the pending projects,” he said.

A total of 89 booths, including an auxiliary booth, were set up in the constituency that has 82,062 voters. The bypoll in the segment was necessitated after sitting legislator Kishan Kapoor was elected as an MP in the Lok Sabha elections in May this year.

In the Pachhad segment, Congress candidate and former Vidhan Sabha speaker Gangu Ram Musafir is pitted against BJP’s Reena Kashyap, a greenhorn, and saffron party rebel and independent Dayal Payari in a three-cornered contest.

The constituency recorded 80.8% voter turnout last time.

Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed confidence that the BJP will win from both the seats. “Our cadres campaigned vigorously,” he added.

State Congress chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore said, “Our party workers’ election campaign proves that the Congress is united once again. The ruling party misused the government machinery in the elections.”

“Despite the poll code violation by the BJP workers, our workers showed great dedication,” he added.

The bypoll results will be declared on October 24.