This time, there are as many as 2,290 contestants in the fray which includes Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, his Minister-son K.T. Rama Rao, State Congress President A Revanth Reddy and BJP Lok Sabha members Bandi Sanjay Kumar and D Arvind.
Polling for the 68-seat Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections in a single phase on Saturday concluded with initial figures of around 66.79 percent voter turnout.
The results will be declared on 8 December.
According to election officials, the polling was peaceful and no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the state.
Among the districts highest polling was observed in Sirmaur district 72.79 ercent, Kinnaur 70.00 percent followed by Solan 68.48 percent, Una 67.67 percent, Lahaul and Spiti 67.50 percent, Shimla 67.22 percent, Mandi 68.03 percent, Bilaspur 65.72 percent, Hamirpur 65.21 percent, Kullu 64.59 percent, Kangra 64.93 percent and Chamba 64.76 percent.
The world’s highest polling station Tashigang in Spiti valley in the tribal district of Lahaul Spiti Assembly segment registered the highest 100 percent voter turnout, although the voter strength here is just 52.
A total 7881 polling stations had been set up for polling.
“The approximate poll percentage in the state is around 66 percent. Shillai Assembly constituency (AC) reported the highest polling percentage and the lowest polling percentage of 50.25 percent in Baijnath AC,” said Chief Electoral Officer Maneesh Garg.
The final figures will be known after the return of all poll parties and final scrutiny of the documents which may vary from the approximate figures, he added.
The initial polling percentage of 66.79 percent till the filing of the report has been the lowest, after 1977 when voting was the lowest at 58.57 percent.
The polling percentage in 2017 Assembly polls was 74.17 percent, while in 2012 polls it was 72.69 percent, 2007 voting was 71.61 percent, 2003 it was 74.51 percent, 1998 it was 71.23 percent, 1993 it was 71.50 percent, 1990 it was 67.76 percent, 1985 it was 70.36 percent, 1982 polling percentage was 71.06 percent.
A total of 412 candidates are in the fray including 24 female and 388 male candidates.
The main contest in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017 is between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress.
The BJP has projected incumbent Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur as its chief ministerial candidate, while Congress is fighting the elections without any CM face.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur exercised his franchise in the Mandi district.
BJP national president J P Nadda along with his family cast their vote at Bilaspur district.
Former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal along with his family including his son Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting exercised his franchise in their native place Samirpur in Hamirpur district.
State Congress chief Pratibha Singh along with her MLA son Vikramaditya Singh cast their vote at Rampur in Shimla district.
Both BJP and Congress are contesting all 68 seats, while AAP is contesting 67 seats, CPI (M) 11 seats, Bahujan Samajwadi Party on 53, Rashtriya Devbhoomi Party on 29, Himachal Jan Kranti Party 6, three each Hindu Samaj Party and Swabhiman Party and one each from Himachal Janata Party, Bhartiya Veer Dal, Sainik Samaj Party, Rashtriya Lok Niti Party and Communist Party of India.
The number of independent candidates in the fray is 99.
The maximum number of 11 candidates in the fray is from the Jogindernagar assembly constituency in Mandi district, while the minimum number of three candidates each in Churah assembly constituency of Chamba district, Lahaul-Spiti AC and Drang assembly constituency of Mandi district.