Shimla: Call it the result of efforts of the Election Commission, Himachal Pradesh saw the highest ever polling on Thursday with more women coming out to vote than men.
In a surprise to many politicians, the voter turnout was over 80 percent in around a dozen assembly segments. Most unexpectedly, Hamirpur district recorded lowest polling while Sirmaur tops the tally. BJP's chief ministerial face Prem Kumar Dhumal is contesting from the Sujanpur seat in Hamirpur district but it wasn't motivational enough for most of the voters to exercise their right to franchise.
"No regional biases seem to have worked in this election. People have voted on personnel rapport," said Atul Chauhan, a political science research scholar.
Even after the elections are over, leaders in the state are still assessing their performance. The all-time high voting percentage has forced them to do some thinking to figure which way trhe wave might have finally blown.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son were found taking a close look at the voter list at their private residence Holly Lodge besides talking to leaders across the state. The BJP leaders including Dhumal have also been assessing the performance after the high poll turnout. However, both the leaders have expressed hope that their respective parties would win the electoral battle.
Himachal Pradesh has 68 assembly segments and currently BJP has 29 MLAs, Congress 36 and three Independents. More than 37 lakh voters sealed the fate of 337 candidates on Thursday and all electronic voting machines have been deposited to 100 strong rooms in 48 different locations across the state. These strong rooms have been guarded by Central Armed Police Force personnel round the clock.
Chief Electoral Officer Pushpendra Rajput said elaborate security arrangements have been made for safe custody of EVM and VVPAT machines throughout the state. "Three-tier security system has been enforced for the safety of these machines. 23 companies of Central paramilitary forces have been deployed for round the clock security of these machines," he said.
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