Uttarakhand witnesses record turnout of 68% voters
Uttarakhand’s 13 districts recorded a 68% turnout by 5 pm. Uttarkashi district had the highest turnout with 73% people casting their vote, followed by Haridwar, Udham Singh Nagar and Nainital districts with 70% each. The hill district of Almora reported the lowest polling percentage at 52%.
Voting ends for 69 seats in Uttarakhand
Residents of Uttarakhand voted today to decide who will form the next government in the state. The BJP is hoping to unseat the ruling Congress government of Chief Minister Harish Rawat, which is battling corruption charges. Out of a total of 70 constituencies, 69 have voted today and 1 constituency – Karnaprayag will vote on March 9 because of the untimely death of BSP candidate Kuldeep Singh Kanwasi, who met with a fatal accident recently. Karnaprayag is a high profile constituency from where Deputy Speaker of the state assembly Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri is contesting. The security level across the hill state had been heightened, especially along the border with Nepal. Anti-incumbency has always been a factor in Uttarakhand, which has voted out the government in power at the time, in successive elections since its formation. Chief Minister Harish Rawat contested from Haridwar Rural in Garhwal against sitting BJP legislator Swami Yatishwaranand, banking on the Muslim and Dalit voters in the city that is one of the largest pilgrim centres of the country. The BJP has accused the Congress of turning “Dev Bhoomi” Uttarakhand, meaning the land of Gods to “Loot Bhoomi” – the land of corruption. For Chief Minister Rawat, the battle was seen as uphill and he also contested from Kichcha in Kumaon. The Congress had portrayed this as his attempt to reaffirm the party’s commitment to both Kumaon and Garhwal. His detractors saw this as a last-ditch attempt to save the party in seats where up to 12 leaders have defected, leading to instability and a loss of face for the Congress. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged people of Uttarakhand to come out and vote in large numbers. A high voter turnout would indicate a change in government. In 2012, Uttarakhand saw a voter turnout of 67.22 per cent. Uttarakhand voted in a single phase. Counting of votes will take place on March 11.