Himachal’s highest polling booth still snowed in

April 22nd, 2009 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Shimla, April 22 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh’s highest polling station in Chafk Batori village of Chamba district, which is at an altitude of 16,000 feet, is still marooned by snow.
“Chafk Batori village is still cut off from the rest of the country. Election material has been sent there through porters,” Himachal chief electoral officer Anil Khachi told IANS.

He said 69 people are eligible to cast their votes at the Chafk Batori polling booth.

Earlier, a booth at Hikkim (15,500 feet) in Lahaul and Spiti district was considered the highest polling station in the state.

According to Khachi, the Ka polling booth in Kinnaur district has the lowest number of voters in the state.

“The Ka polling station near Yangthang in Kinnaur district has only 19 voters - the lowest in the state. The highest number of voters (1,600) are at a polling booth in the Joginder Nagar assembly constituency,” he said.

Chafk Batori and Ka polling stations are part of the sprawling Mandi parliamentary constituency that covers almost two-thirds of the hill state. Maheshwar Singh of the (BJP) Bharatiya Janata Party has been pitted against Congress nominee Virbhadra Singh in this seat.

“Polling material has reached almost all the polling stations, including those located in three tribal assembly constituencies of Lahaul and Spiti, Bharmaur and Kinnaur.

“The polling exercise is a difficult task in the tribal constituencies as one-third of the polling booths are located at altitudes above 13,000 feet,” said Khachi.

The Lahaul valley is still cut off from the rest of the world. The majestic Rohtang Pass (13,050 feet) that separates Lahaul and Spiti district from the Kullu valley is closed.

“The road link to the Lahaul valley through the Rohtang Pass is still closed. Snow clearing is on,” said S.K. Doon of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF), a government agency that maintains the Manali-Leh highway.

The hill state has 2,257,310 women voters out of 4,604,832 in all. The highest number of voters - 1,199,820 - is in the Kangra parliamentary constituency, followed by Hamirpur (1,187,704), Mandi (1,111,787) and Shimla (1,105,521). There are 63,760 service electors out of which 46,409 are male and 17,351 female.

Polling for the four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh - Shimla, Kangra, Mandi and Hamirpur - is scheduled for May 13.

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