Shimla, November 10
Less than 24 hours before the Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh, the higher reaches of the state on Thursday were wrapped in a thick blanket of snow, while the lower hills were lashed by rain, bringing the temperature down by several notches.
There are chances of more rain and snow in the state till Friday, weather officials said.
“Shimla and its nearby areas experienced overnight mild rain,” an official of the Meteorological Department here told IANS.
Nearby places like Kufri and Narkanda also experienced rain, while some of the areas in Kharapathar of Shimla district experienced snow.
“High-altitude areas of Lahaul-Spiti, Chamba, Kullu, Kinnaur and Shimla districts have been experiencing moderate snow,” the official said.
Manali saw rain, while the Rohtang Pass, some 52 km from Manali, witnessed snowfall.
Lower areas of the state including Dharamsala, Palampur, Solan, Nahan, Bilaspur, Una, Hamirpur and Mandi towns received rain, bringing down the temperature considerably.
Several areas in Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti districts experienced snow.
The state’s highest polling station in Chask Bhatori village in Bharmour Assembly of Chamba district, located at an altitude of 4,500 metres, where the polling party has to trudge 14-km arduous journey to reach there, Chief Electoral Officer Maneesh Garg said.
Twenty-six people are eligible to cast their votes at the Chask Bhatori, situated in the Sechu panchayat of the Pangi tribal area.
The Election Department has set up 7,881 polling stations for Saturday’s polls to the 68-member Assembly.
There are 7,235 polling stations in rural areas and 646 in urban areas, an official statement said.
The Ka polling booth in Kinnaur district has the lowest number of voters in the state.
“The booth has only six voters — the lowest in the state. The highest number of voters (1,511) is at Sidhbari polling station in the Dharamsala Assembly constituency,” he said.
Chask Bhatori and Ka polling stations are part of the sprawling Mandi parliamentary constituency that covers almost two-thirds of the hill state.
A total of 55,92,828 electors, which includes 67,559 service electors and 22 NRIs, are eligible to exercise their franchise on Saturday.
The ballots will be counted on December 8.