Tribal areas of Himachal record high turnout

May 13th, 2009 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Shimla, May 13 (IANS) Low temperatures in the higher regions of Himalayan slopes in Himachal pradesh failed to dampen the spirit of the voters during the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections.
“Heavy turnout was recorded in the three tribal segments of the Mandi parliamentary constituency as compared to other areas in the state despite rugged, cold and inhospitable Himalayan terrain,” state chief electoral officer Anil Khachi told IANS.

The Mandi constituency comprises Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur districts and some areas of Chamba district.

“Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur districts recorded 69 percent polling, while tribal Pangi in Chamba district recorded the heaviest turnout in the state - 80 percent,” he said. In other parts of the state, the poll percentage was between 55 and 60 percent.

Lahaul-Spiti district has the lowest number of electorate - 22,981 - in the state, while Kinnaur has 50,760 voters. The climatic conditions in these districts are harsh as much of the land falls under a cold desert.

According to Khachi, the state’s highest polling station, Hikkam, located at an altitude of over 15,000 feet, recorded 69 percent turnout.

“As many as 243 voters of the 321 exercised franchise at the Hikkam polling station,” Khachi said.

From the Mandi constituency, Congress leader and five-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) three-time MP Maheshwar Singh are the main contestants in Mandi.

Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh is the sitting MP. In 2004, she defeated Maheshwar Singh by 66,566 votes.

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