Himachal Pradesh Polls: 74.5% turnout

Himachal Pradesh recorded its highest turnout in assembly polls, with 74.45% of voters taking part in an election in which BJP seeks to dislodge the ruling Congress on the issue of corruption while deflecting attacks on demonetisation and GST.

By 5pm, when voting closed, 74.45% of the electorate had voted, Chief Electoral Officer Pushpender Rajput said. The state's previous highest polling percentage of 73.5 was recorded in the 2012 assembly polls.

The results, to be announced on December 18, along with those of Gujarat assembly polls, will be a bellwether for PM Modi's popularity. Sixty sitting MLAs figure among the 337 candidates fighting for a seat in the 68-member assembly in Himachal Pradesh, one of the few states under Congress rule. Red carpet for free India's 1st voter: Centurion Shyam Saran Negi, the first voter of independent India, exercised his franchise one more time at Kalpa polling station in Kinnaur district on Thursday. The district administration rolled out the red-carpet for Negi and provided a vehicle to transport him to the polling station. After his vote, Negi said he had never missed it.“I feel it's my duty as a citizen.“ Negi was garlanded and received by deputy commissioner Naresh Kumar Lath.

Exiled from their ancestral land, the Tibetan community living in Dharamshala again got a second taste of Indian democracy on Thursday, 59 years after they arrived to live in the subcontinent. Tibetans voted for the first time in Indian democracy in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but this was the first time the community participated in assembly elections. From monks to young men and women, most of the 1,400 registered Tibetan voters in the state actively participated in the electoral process. 

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