Dehradun: 42 percent polling was recorded till 1 pm in Uttarakhand where five Lok Sabha seats went to polls in the eighth phase on Wednesday.
Nearly 42 percent of the electorate across the state have cast their votes till 1 pm, Chief Election Officer Radha Raturi said.
A polling official, Arvind Singh died of a heart attack today at Nargarha booth of Bagheshwar district which falls in the Almora Constituency, she said adding, polling is being held peacefully in all the constituencies with no other report of any untoward incident from anywhere so far.
Polling began amid tight security across the hill state for Pauri-Garhwal, Tehri, Nainital, Almora and Haridwar seats at 7 am with men and women in large numbers turning up at the polling stations since early morning to cast their votes.
Long queues of voters were seen outside polling stations in different parts of the state waiting for their turn to exercise their right to franchise.
A total of 71.29 lakh voters across the state are likely to exercise their voting rights to seal the fate of 74 candidates including three former BJP chief ministers.
Elaborate arrangements have been made to conduct free and fair polling across the state with the deployment of 48122 poll personnel on the state`s 10,094 booths, election officials here said.
The 48,122 polling personnel deployed on the booths include 11,484 presiding officers and 36,638 polling officials, the state election officer informed, adding that 711 micro observers have also been deployed to ensure free and fair poll.
Security has been tightened across the state to conduct peaceful polling with the deployment of 76 gazetted police officials, 122 inspectors, 759 sub-inspectors, 1531 head constables, 11,225 constables, 11,245 home guards, 5409 gram prahris, chowkidars and forest guards besides 21 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary and 56 companies of central police forces, election officials said.
Some high profile candidates trying their fate in these elections are three former BJP chief ministers Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari and Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank besides Chief Minister Harish Rawat`s wife Renuka, former CM Vjay Bahuguna`s son Saket and daughter-in-law of erstwhile Tehri royal family Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah.
BJP heavyweight Khanduri is pitted against Cabinet minister and Congress MLA from Ruydraprayag Assembly constituency Harak Singh Rawat in Pauri-Garhwal Lok Sabha seat.
Former CM Koshiyari is taking on sitting Congress MP K C Singh Baba in Nainital from where AAP`s Balbir Singh Cheema and BSP`s Laik Ahmed are also trying their luck.
Nishank, also a former CM, is pitted against Harish Rawat`s wife Renuka in Haridwar from where AAP nominee and the country`s first woman DGP Kanchan Chaudhry Bhattacharya is also in the fray.
Former CM Bahuguna`s son Saket is pitted once again against sitting BJP MP Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah in Tehri to whom he had lost by more than 20,000 votes in 2012 bypoll to the seat.
In Almora sitting Congress MP Pradeeep Tamta is pitted against BJP`s Ajay Tamta.
In most of the seats opposition BJP and the ruling Congress appear to be locked in a straight contest.
While the BJP is banking primarily on what it calls a Narendra Modi wave for victory, the Congress is trying to make the most of Chief Minister Harish Rawat`s development agenda in the calamity-hit state to tilt the scales in its favour amid fears of an anti-incumbency wave countrywide.
However, in Haridwar and Nainital seats the AAP, BSP and SP are trying hard to make the contest three cornered.