Himachal polls: Fate of 459 candidates to be decided on Thursday

The fate of 459 candidates vying for the 68 assembly segments of Himachal Pradesh, sealed in EVMs for past 46 days, would be decided on Thursday.

Shimla: The fate of 459 candidates vying for the 68 assembly segments of Himachal Pradesh, sealed in EVMs for past 46 days, would be decided on Thursday with the counting of votes starting simultaneously for all the seats.

Over 4,500 security personnel have been deployed at 39 places where 68 centres have been set up for counting and all the results are expected by afternoon.

As many as 33.49 lakh voters had exercised their franchise in the one-day polling on November 4 last and sealed the fate of 459 candidates including Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and HPCC chief Virbhadra Singh.

There are 106 independents and 26 women candidates in the fray, whereas the ruling BJP and Congress are contesting on all seats.

The state has recorded highest polling of 74.70 per cent which was slightly higher than the 74.51 per cent polling in 2003.

The total expenditure on polls was about Rs 10 crore which included the expenditure of Rs 4 crore on security forces, guarding the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at various places for 46 days.

The counting of postal ballots would be taken up first followed by counting of votes of EVMs.

The EVMs from tribal Lahaul and Spiti district and Pangi were brought to Kullu immediately after the polls for counting. The election in all 68 assembly constituencies, including three tribal constituencies were held simultaneously in the state after a gap of 19 years.

The elections were held simultaneously in November 1993 polls.

The politicians are waiting for the results with a bated breath.

Out of a total of 1.16 lakh postal ballots, which could play a decisive role in many constituencies, so far over 33,000 postal ballots have been received and these are expected to touch 35,000 marks till the deadline of 7.30 AM tomorrow as compared to 22,000 postal ballots cast in the 2007 assembly polls.

The postal ballots included 74,000 Army personnel and 42,000 state government employees including police and home guard personnel, who were on poll duty.

The EC received a total of 364 complaints including 230 from individuals with regard to violation of model code of conduct, which will remain in effect till December 24.

The Income Tax department seized a total of Rs 3.24 crore cash during the elections, out of which only Rs 12 lakh remains as rest has been returned.

The EC received 104 cases of paid news, mostly in the vernacular media.

The EC received two complaints with regard to filling of wrong affidavit by the contesting candidates.

This includes complaint with regard to assets and properties of Congress candidate from Mandi, Anil Sharma and the Scheduled Caste status of the BJP nominee from Solan reserved constituency, Sheila Devi.

While the EC has sought report from Deputy Commissioner, Mandi in case of Sharma, the matter with regard to Devi is pending in the High Court, Chief Electoral Officer, Narinder Chauhan said.


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