Uttarakhand reported 59.37 per cent voter turnout till 5 pm as elections for the 70-member state Assembly was held on Monday. The polling in the hilly state started at 8 am and ended at 6 pm. According to Election Commission, Haridwar reported the highest percentage of voter turnout with 67.58 per cent followed by Uttarkashi (65.55 per cent) and Udham Singh Nagar (65.13 per cent) till 5 pm.
Meanwhile, Almora reported the lowest percentage of voter turnout of 50.65 till 5 pm. Dehradun reported 52.93 per cent, Bageshwar reported 57.83 per cent, Chamoli 59.28 per cent and Champawat recorded 56.97 per cent turnout. Further, Pauri Garhwal logged 51.93 per cent, Pithoragarh 57.49 per cent, Rudraprayag 60.36 per cent and Tehri Garhwal 52.66 per cent voter turnout.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seeking to retain power in the hilly state while Congress is hoping for a comeback. Both the Congress and the BJP have battled political instability in the state in the last two decades after it was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000 during former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure. The BJP’s task is two-fold– beat the anti-incumbency and also the electoral trend of the incumbent government voted out in the state. Uttarakhand, incidentally, has seen 11 Chief Ministers in the last two decades.
The BJP has fielded 11 cabinet Ministers and the state unit president Madan Kaushik. Incumbent Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami is contesting for the third time from the Khatima Assembly seat and is facing Congress nominee Bhuwan Chandra Kapri. Losing the last three elections in a row, Congress veteran Harish Rawat is now contesting from a new Assembly seat Lalkuwa. The new entrant into Uttarakhand politics, Aam Aadmi Party has fielded candidates on all 70 Assembly seats, with its Chief Ministerial face being Ajay Kothiyal. Voting also began in Goa and parts of Uttar Pradesh going to elections in the second phase on Monday at 7 am. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.