Himachal bypoll: Over 33 pc voting for Mandi LS seat till 2 pm
A voter turnout of over 33 per cent was recorded in the bypoll to the Mandi Lok Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh, while 39.24 to 48.19 per cent voting was registered in the Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly seats in the first six hours of polling on Saturday, an election official said.
Voting is underway in a peaceful manner in pleasant weather conditions, he added.
The voting for the bypolls began at a slow pace at 8 am, the official said, adding that it has been gaining momentum gradually.
A voter turnout of 33.17 per cent was recorded in Mandi, while in Fatehpur, Arki and Jubbal-Kotkhai, the polling percentage was 39.32, 39.24 and 48.18 respectively in the first six hours, he said.
A total of 12,99,756 voters in Mandi, 87,222 in Fatehpur, 92,609 in Arki and 70,965 in Jubbal-Kotkhai are eligible to exercise their franchise till 6 pm.
According to officials, 2,484 polling stations and 312 auxiliary polling stations have been set up for the bypolls.
The bypolls were necessitated following the death of the elected representatives from these seats.
Tight security arrangements have been made to ensure smooth polling.
State Chief Electoral Officer C Palrasu informed that around 50 per cent (1,383 out of 2,796) of the polling stations will be connected through web-casting.
The counting of votes will be taken up on November 2.
A total of 18 candidates are in the fray -- 12 for the three Assembly segments and six for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat.
A direct contest is expected between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress on all the seats except Jubbal-Kotkhai, where rebel BJP candidate Chetan Singh Bragta is trying his luck as an Independent.
However, all eyes are on the Mandi parliamentary bypoll as the constituency is the home turf of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
The BJP has fielded Kargil war hero Brigadier Khushal Singh Thakur from Mandi against Congress candidate Pratibha Singh, the wife of late chief minister Virbhadra Singh.