Himachal Pradesh records nearly 66% voter turnout as polling concludes
The fate of 412 candidates, including several renowned politicians, has been sealed in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. The state, where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress were engaged in a direct poll fight, had a voter turnout of 66% till 5:00 pm on Saturday, PTI reported. The votes will now be counted on December 8.
Why does this story matter?
- Speculations of a close contest between the BJP and the Congress attributed to factionalism fell flat when 26 leaders of the latter joined the BJP.
- In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP won 44 out of 68 seats, while Congress won 21 seats.
- Apart from the two parties, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also trying to cement its foothold in the Himalayan state.
Highest voting percentage in Lahaul-Spiti, Sirmour and Mandi districts
According to reports voting rose progressively after barely 5% of voting was reported in the first hour. Almost 65.92% of votes were cast till 5:00 pm, with the Lahaul-Spiti district having the highest turnout (62.75%), followed by Sirmour (60.38%) and Mandi (58.9%)—the chief minister Jairam Thakur's home district, TOI reported. Chamba had the lowest turnout (46%), it said.
Special arrangement for polling in high altitudes
Per reports, over 65 polling stations were set up in the state at elevations above 10,000 feet and special consideration was given to the voters' convenience. Tashigang, the highest polling station in Lahaul-Spiti, has just 54 voters, whereas Kurched has 56. It has already begun to snow here. ECI has dispatched snow removal crews from the BRO and the Public Works Department (PWD).
Difficult terrains, determined staff
24 women were in the fray
Nearly 55 lakh registered voters were eligible to vote in these elections 43,000 first-time voters. At the same time, there were 1,184 voters over the age of 100. This year, 412 candidates are running in Himachal, with only 24 of them being women.
Confident of winning 40-45 seats: Himachal Congress chief
Important issues of the state
Himachal Pradesh's unemployment rate was 9.2% in September and 8.2% in October, both higher than the national average of 7.6%. It's the biggest issue in the state. Agneepath system, the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), the hardship of apple producers, and village roads and connectivity are the other major challenges. There is no road connection in 39% of Himachal's regions.
Elderly BJP supporter mocks Congress
This is what a Himachal voter has to say pic.twitter.com/tLAxVipVx6— Rishi Bagree (@rishibagree) November 9, 2022
Promises by parties
Congress pledged in its platform to hire five lakh youth, re-implement OPS, declare MSP for apples, and speed up road building. AAP has also pledged to hire six lakh young people, reduce OPS, and raise MSP on fruits. The BJP, on the other hand, has made pledges ranging from creating 8 lakh employment to enacting the Uniform Civil Code.
Results will be announced on December 8
The Himachal Pradesh election results will be announced on December 8. The BJP wishes to reclaim control in the state, while the Congress wishes to depose the BJP and install a new administration. In the 2017 assembly elections, the BJP received 44 seats, the Congress received 21, and the CPI(M) received one. Apart from these, two independent candidates also won.
How parties performed in last election
In the 2017 assembly elections, the voter turnout was 75.57 percent and BJP got 44, Congress 21, and CPI(M) one seat. Apart from these, two independent candidates won. The BJP formed the government here with a clear majority.