The highest polling booth in Tachigang, located at 15,256 feet in the cold deserts of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, scored 100 per cent of the ballot as all 47 voters exercised their right to vote at the local booth.

Tashigang is located in the Mandi Parliamentary Constituency. The overall turnout in the constituency remained 58 percent. The Siraj Assembly constituency under Mandi, Prime Minister Jeram Thakur’s district, scored the highest turnout with 70 per cent of the electorate.

(Tashigang has been declared as a model ballot box by the European Commission)

Polling took place in Mandi constituency and three other constituencies, Arki (Solan), Fatehpur (Kangra) and Gopal Kotkhai (Shimla) were voted on on Saturday.

Arki got 64.79 percent of the vote while Fatehpur got 66.20 percent. Jubbal-Kotkhai showed a different trend as it recorded 79 percent of the ballot, setting a record of sorts.

Reports reaching Shimla from Mandi and the three constituencies indicate a tendency against the present government on the question of price.

People are seen as a powerful test for Prime Minister Jairam Thakur and should give Congress enough ground to build an anti-BJP rhetoric in the state if the results are in his favour.

Chief Election Officer C. Polrasso said polling was conducted peacefully and no untoward incident was reported during polling hours. There were long queues of voters waiting for their turn since morning.

The famous 104-year-old Keenor man – Shyam Saran Negi, India’s first independent voter, was given a red carpet welcome at Kalpa polling station. He was accompanied by three generations including two grandchildren, both of whom were first-time electors.

(Shyam Saran Negi, 104, at the polling station)

Negi was honored by Deputy Commissioner Kinnaur Apoorv Devgan at the booth who expressed appreciation for the former’s commitment to vote in every election since 1951.

In Spiti, the mood was cheerful with women and men arriving at the polling station in their traditional clothes, usually worn during festivals and rare occasions. Women were seen dancing and singing in celebration.

(Spiti women serve hot tea to voters in the polling booth)

Declared by the Election Commission as a model booth, Tachigang was specially decorated, adding visual splendor to the polling ceremonies.

The electors were warmly received in accordance with Buddhist traditions.

However, the call to boycott the ballot had an impact on the vote in Keener. No voter went to the polls in Rarang, Jangi and Apka as a sign of protest against the 804 MW Hidel project in Jangi Thuban, which is seen as a threat to the local environment and biodiversity in the highland tribal region.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jay Ram Thakur thanked the voters for their participation in the by-shots and hoped that the BJP would win all the seats, especially Mandi by comfortable margins.

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