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EC to rope in Bollywood stars, sportspersons to boost voters in Himachal Pradesh

The Election Commission has approached a host of Bollywood stars from the state, including Kangna Ranaut, Preity Zinta and playback singer Mohit Chauhan, to promote voting amongst the electorate.

india Updated: Sep 19, 2017 17:38 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Himachal elections,Kangana Ranaut news,Preity Zinta
(HT File)

The Election Commission in Himachal Pradesh will rope in Bollywood stars and sportspersons to boost the polling percentage in the forthcoming elections in the state. Sources in the EC say India’s first voter, centurion Shyam Saran Negi, will not be a poll ambassador this time due to health issues.

The model code of conduct for elections in Himachal Pradesh will come into force in the first week of October.

The EC has approached a host of Bollywood stars from the state, including Kangna Ranaut, Preity Zinta and famous playback singer Mohit Chauhan, to promote voting amongst the electorate. Kangna Ranuat hails from Bhambla village in Mandi district, while Preity Zinta is from Jubbal in Shimla and Mohit Chauhan was raised in Nahan in Sirmaur district.

Earlier, the Himachal government had approached Kangna Ranaut for promoting tourism in Himachal, but it dropped the move after the actress demanded a hefty sum.

Besides Bollywood stars, the EC is also roping in world famous wrestler Dalip Singh Rana, aka Great Khali. Rana belongs to Nanidhar panchayat in Sirmaur district. He started his professional sports with the Punjab police in 2000 and entered the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in 2006.

The EC has also roped in Vijay Kumar, an Olympian who shot into limelight in 2012 after bagging a silver in the individual 25-metre rapid fire pistol event at the 2012 summer Olympics. Vijay comes from Hamirpur district.

The EC plans to rope in Payal Thakur, an 11-year-old visually impaired girl who shot to fame after her performance in a reality show on a national TV channel. Payal Thakur was amongst the top three singers.

Centurion Negi dropped

This time the EC has dropped India’s first voter, Shyam Saran Negi, from its list of brand ambassadors for the upcoming elections as he is not keeping good health. Negi was the first to cast his vote in the country’s maiden general elections in October, 1951. In 2010, India’s then election commissioner, Navin Chawla, travelled to Kinnaur to felicitate Negi and in 2014, he was appointed the brand ambassador by the Himachal EC to sensitise voters ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Negi has voted 16 times in the Lok Sabha polls and 12 times in the state Assembly elections. Negi turned 100 in July this year. His video had gone viral on social networking sites during the last polls.

78,000 new voters

Over 78,000 new voters have been registered in the revised electoral rolls in Himachal Pradesh ahead of the Assembly polls. State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Pushpender Rajput said new voter lists have been published after work on special revision of photo electoral rolls of all the 68 Assembly constituencies of the state was completed. He said 1,25,556 new voters have been registered after the special revision of the electoral rolls, which included 40,567 voters in the age group of 18-19 years and 84,989 above 19 years of age. Names of 47,523 voters were deleted due to death or change of place or double registration, the officer said. The state has registered a net increase of 78,033 voters (1.62%) voters. Now there are 49,05,677 registered voters in the state of whom 24,98,174 are men and 24,07,503 are women. Sulah Assembly constituency of Kangra district has the highest number of 92,753 voters, while Spiti constituency has the lowest number of 22,849 voters, the officer said.

First Published: Sep 19, 2017 17:19 IST