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Stage set for last phase of Himachal polls

Source: PTI
December 18, 2007 15:24 IST
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Polling for the second and final phase of elections to the crucial 65 seats in Himachal Pradesh will be conducted on Wednesday.

In the first phase, voting for three tribal seats of Kinnaur, Bharmour and Lahual-Spiti was conducted on November 14.

A total of 44,77,254 electors will cast their vote in 5934 polling stations across the state to decide the fate of 324 candidates, Chief Electoral Officer Manisha Nanda said, adding that 25 female candidates are also contesting this time.

Out of total candidates BJP has fielded 65, Congress 64 and BSP 64 candidates for the eleventh state assembly, she said.

Voting will start at 8 am in the morning and end at 5 pm in the evening tomorrow. Counting of votes will be held on December 28.

Among the 65 seats going to poll tomorrow, Arki constituency in Solan district has maximum number of nine candidates. This constituency hogged the limelight because of presence of Congress nominee Prakash Chand Karad, son of retired cook of 10 Janpath, who elbowed Deputy Speaker Dharampal Thakur to get party nomination.

Wednesday polling will decide the fate of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh from his traditional Rohru seat, BJP nominee for chief ministerial post Prem Kumar Dhumal (Bamsan), Vidya Stokes (Kumarsain), BSP's CM candidate Vijay Singh Mankotia (Dharamsala) and Raj Kishan Gaur (Kullu).

Nomination of Congress candidate from Gangath seat (reserved for SC), Bodh raj was rejected following Supreme Court judgment that he does not belong to Schedule Caste.

Foolproof security arrangements have been made for free and fair balloting in the state. Besides state police, 23 companies of central paramilitary force will be deployed to prevent any unpleasant incident during the polling, Nanda said.

State borders with neighbouring Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Uttranchal have been sealed since December 10, she added.

Out of a total 5934 polling stations set up for voting on Wednesday, 1084 has been declared as sensitive and 621 hyper sensitive.

While Banjar assembly seat is area-wise the largest assembly constituency in the state, Rainka (reserved for SC) assembly seat is the smallest. Tepa polling station in Rajnagar (Reserved for SC) seat in Chamba district is located at the maximum height of 12,000 feet while Nalti polling booth in Hamirpur constituency is located at the minimum height of 7000 feet.

Taleru polling station under Banikhet constituency in Chamba district has minimum 24 electorates.

Wakened by the news report about problems faced by people of Bada Bhangal in Baijnath assembly seat to travel great distance to Bir to cast their vote, the EC has set up an auxiliary polling station at Bada Bhangal.

Earlier the EC had made photo identity card as mandatory for exercising franchise. However, after considering the fact that many voters were not provided the I-card, it has allowed use of 14 alternative documents for voting.
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