Voting picks up in Uttarakhand

Dehradun, Feb 15 (IANS) Hundreds of thousands voted on Wednesday in Uttarakhand to elect a new assembly in a contest mainly between the ruling Congress and the BJP.

After a slow start, balloting picked up steadily in the hill state across 69 of the 70 constituencies.

By 2 p.m., the average voting recorded in 13 districts was around 48 per cent, an Election Commission official said.

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

Men and women braved inclement weather at some places and came out in large numbers to vote, officials said.

Maximum voting was reported from Kotdwar (51 per cent) where former Congress leader Harak Singh Rawat, who switched loyalty to the Bharatiya Janata Party last year, is contesting.

Brisk voting was reported in Haridwar, where Chief Minister Harish Rawat is contesting from a rural seat.

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 has 10,685 polling stations. A total of 1,409 polling stations have been classified as “very sensitive”, an official euphemism to mean trouble could be expected there.

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