A moderate polling of 57.80 per cent was recorded in the 34-ward Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) elections held today. Polling started on a moderate rate and picked up as the day advanced but slowed down in the last leg due to heavy rains. The Nabha ward, reserve for Scheduled Caste women, and Shanti Bihar ward recorded heaviest polling at 66 per cent, while Benmur ward, reserved for women, recorded lowest polling at 47 per cent. Over 52,000 out of the total 91,000 electorate exercised their franchise, election officials said. The polling started at 8.00 AM and 14 per cent votes were cast by 10.00 AM. Polling percentage went up to 33 per cent in the afternoon.
It further increased to 47 per cent at 2.00 PM and the overall polling at the end stood at 57.8 per cent. 65 per cent polling was recorded in Totu ward followed by Kaithu (63 per cent), Upper Dhalli (62 per cent), among others. The polling was peaceful and barring an incident of some snag in voting machine in Tara Hall booth. No other incident was reported from any other booth. There was a complaint of snag in the electronic voting machine (EVM) in Kaithu ward, but was found incorrect by officials. "The complaints of fault in the machine were found to be wrong," Shimla Deputy Commissioner Rohan Chand Thakur, who is also the returning officer for the polls, said. The counting of votes would be taken up tomorrow and two centres have been set up for 34 wards. 50 per cent (17) seats have been reserved for women including three for SC woman and three seats are reserved for SC men. The number of wards was increased from 25 in 2012 polls to 34 this time and the post of Mayor, who would elected by indirect votes has been reserved for SC woman. The elections were not held on party symbols but all the three major contenders the Congress, BJP and CPI(M) declared the list of party-backed candidates. Top leaders of Congress and the BJP, including the chief minister Virbhadra Singh, Union minister J P Nadda and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, joined the campaign and held road shows.
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