HIGH VOTER turnout and major participation of women on voting day on November 9 has triggered panic buttons for some MLAs who contested in key districts, which are likely to play a crucial role in the formation of the next government. However, there are a few incumbent BJP and Congress MLAs, who claim that they are set to beat their ‘individual scores’ of the previous polls. The latest figures released by the Election Commission records a polling percentage of 74.61 percent, higher than 73.51 percent in the 2012 when the BJP was voted out of power and the the Congress led by Virbhadra Singh, took over.
In 2003— also a year of change when the Congress replaced the BJP, 74.5 per cent polling was witnessed. Invariably, a high voting percentage has remained a ‘factor of change’ and marks an interesting aspect of polling trends in districts such as Sirmaur — a stronghold of the Congress till now, having seen a poll percentage of 81.05 percent over 79.93 in 2012.
Hamirpur — home district of BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, has the lowest polling percentage of 71.98 per cent in the state though this is still higher than 68.04 in 2012 polls. Data with the Election Commission reveals that large participation of women has pushed up the poll percentage.”Another factor was the fact that the model polling stations, which numbered 231, saw 95 per cent polling, said Chief Electoral Officer Pushendra Rajput Of total 37,21,647 who went to cast their vote at 7,525 polling stations, 19,10,582 were women and 18,11,061 men. Only four third gender voters cast their vote.
Arki (Solan), from where Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is contesting, saw 74.63 per cent polling against 73.46 per cent in 2012 when BJP’s Govind Ram Sharma won the seat second time. A higher poll percentage of 73.05 against 59.32 percent in 2012 was witnessed at Shimla (Rural), constituency of Vikramaditya Singh. His father Virbhadra Singh had won the seat by 20,000 votes in 2012.
Former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal ‘s constituency polled 74.07 per cent against 69.34 percent in 2102 when Independent (BJP rebel) Rajendra Rana had won the seat. In Mandi ,where Anil Sharma, who was a Cabinet minister and switched over to the BJP is contesting, has polled a higher 76.37 percent votes against 74.93 in 2012. A seven -time MLA and health minister Kaul Singh Thakur’s constituency Drang has higher polling of 78.75 percent.
Former BJP minister Jairam Thakur’s constituency registered 83.20 per cent in the Mandi district. Although lower than 85 per cent in 2012 when the Congress returned to power even as Thakur was a minister then. The constituencies like Nagrota Bhagwan in Kangra district— a strong bastion G S Bali registered highest 77.98 percent followed by Kangra with 76.38 percent .Dharamshala constituency of Sudhir Sharma polled 74.55 percent ,which is 73.09 percent in 2012.
Industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri ‘s Haroli also has a higher trend of polling 78.96 percent against 75.87 pc in 2012. On the district-wise pattern Sirmaur had best of 81.05 percent followed by Kullu with 77.87 percent ,Solan 77.44,Bilaspur 75.58,Mandi 75.21,Una 76.45, Kinnaur 75.09,Chamba 73.21,Kangra 72.47, Shimla 72.68 and Lahaul-spiti 73.47 per cent.
Shimla (Urban)—the seat of power,which holds a track record of low polling raise the level to 63.76 percent against 59.22 percent. The presence of a congress rebel Harish Janartha led to heavy mobilisation in the constituency. Jubbal-Kotkhai polled 80.24 percent—highest in Shimla against 79.18 percent earlier. Palampur where Indu Goswami, a new face, is contesting, polled 71.92 per cent which was slightly lower than 72.94 per cent in 2012.Why Doon polled 88.95, the highest in the state, remains a surprise as also being only little higher than 84.27 percent at Nalagarh,where congress rebel is contesting. Both earlier in 2012 has also polled a high of 89.01 and 85.59 per cent respectively. Till December 18, when the votes will be counted, the candidates and parties may have to keep their guessing games on.