High voting as polling ends in Uttarakhand (Third Lead)

Dehradun, Feb 15 (IANS) Assembly elections in Uttarakhand ended on Wednesday in a fight mainly between the ruling Congress and the BJP, with officials saying the vote percentage will be more than in 2012.

Polling in 69 of the 70 constituencies in the hill state ended on a peaceful note, Election Commission officials said.

While the final vote percentage is not known, officials said it was expected to be better than what was recorded five years ago.

After a slow start, people poured out of their homes all across the state in large numbers to vote.

Maximum voting was reported from Haridwar (65 per cent) — where Chief Minister Harish Rawat is a candidate in one of the constituencies — followed by 63 per cent in Uttarkashi.

Voters turnout in Uddhamsinghnagar was 63 per cent, followed by Nainital (57), Rudraprayag (54), Bagheshwar (53), Pithoragarh and Dehradun (51), Chamoli and Tehri (50) and Almora (47).

This is the fourth assembly polls in the state where 7.5 million voters decided the fate of 628 candidates.

Men and women braved inclement weather at some places and voted in large numbers, officials said.

Polling in Karnprayag was suspended due to the death of the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate. Voting there will be held on March 9.

According to an official, postal ballots will be received till March 11 morning, the day votes will be counted in all five states including Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand had 10,685 polling stations. A total of 1,409 of them were classified “very sensitive”, an official euphemism to mean trouble could be expected there.

A polling station at Yamunotri was located at a height of 9,800 feet above sea level.

Although the Bahujan Samaj Party is also in the race, the Uttarakhand contest was dominantly between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).