In Himachal, semis ahead of Assembly poll

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 29

About 15.49 lakh voters will decide the fate of 18 candidates in fray for the Mandi Lok Sabha and Jubbal-Kotkhai, Arki and Fatehpur Assembly bypolls tomorrow, being seen as a semifinal ahead of the Himachal Assembly elections next year. The counting of votes will take place on November 2. With campaigning having come to an end yesterday, a majority of the senior politicians, including Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, ministers and Congress bigwigs, spent the day at their native places making last-minute poll calculations. Thakur will cast his vote at Seraj village in Mandi district, following which he is expected to return to Shimla.

Pratibha Singh, Congress candidate from Mandi, will cast her vote along with her family in Rampur. The other candidates too cooled their

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heels at their native places while party workers maintained vigil against allurement of voters by rivals.

Election authorities said arrangements were in place to ensure free, fair and peaceful polls as polling parties had already reached their destination, especially the higher reaches that had witnessed snowfall. There are 12,99,756 voters in Mandi, 87,222 in Fatehpur, 92,609 in Arki and 70,965 in Jubbal-Kotkhai. Polling will take place in 20 of the 68 Assembly segments, including 17 that are part of the Mandi Lok Sabha seat.

As many as 2,361 polling centres have been set up for the Mandi parliamentary constituency, 141 in Fatehpur, 154 Arki and 136 Jubbal-Kotkhai. A total of 38,305 first-time voters in the 18-19 age group will cast their vote, which includes 32,077 in Mandi seat. The highest polling station has been set up at 15,226 feet in Tashigong village of tribal Lahaul Spiti district (part of Mandi seat).

There will be a total of 36 model polling stations, besides 40 stations to be handled exclusively by women staff.

18 in fray

Bypolls are being held for Mandi LS and Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly seats

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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