HP Bypoll: HP poll panel chief visits Mandi Lok Sabah constituency


PTI | Shimla | Updated: 27-10-2021 20:47 IST | Created: 27-10-2021 20:47 IST
HP Bypoll: HP poll panel chief visits Mandi Lok Sabah constituency
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Himachal’s poll panel chief C Paulrasu on Wednesday toured various areas under Mandi parliamentary constituency to take stock of the October 30 byelection preparedness there, an official spokesperson said.

Various areas of the Lok Sabha constituency that Chief Electoral Officer Paulrasu visited along with Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh and police chief Sanjay Kundu included Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur and Kullu districts and Pangi sub-division of Chamba district.

A direct contest is expected between late Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's wife Pratibha Singh of the Congress and Kargil war Hero Khushal Singh Thakur of BJP there.

Byelections for the Mandi parliamentary seat and Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly seats will be held on Saturday which will decide the fate of 18 candidates in the fray.

On this occasion, the chief secretary directed the administration to make proper lodging and boarding arrangements for the staff deployed on the polling duty as the valley had already experienced fresh snowfall.

While presiding over a meeting of senior officers of the Kinnaur district at Reckongpeo, the chief secretary assured them that the state government would also arrange state and Army helicopters if required due to inclement weather. Singh said the Mandi parliamentary constituency had a tough terrain as it consists of remote and tribal areas and there are chances of fresh snowfall in its higher reaches. Keeping this in view, he asked the administration to deploy adequate man and machinery for ensuring smooth polling besides maintaining proper law and order situation.

He also directed officials to ensure that the polling material and parties should reach the remotest polling stations well in time.

On this occasion, Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Apurav Devgan informed the CEO that 129 polling stations have been set up in the district and the polling parties would leave for their destinations on October 28.

Later, the CEO and officials also took stock of arrangements at the counting centre and the strong room to keep the electronic voting machines safely after the polling.

While interacting with Kullu district officials at Bhuntar, the chief secretary had a detailed discussion with them on the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct, arrangements made for the polling parties, polling booths and the strong room.

District Electoral Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner Ashutosh Garg informed the Chief Secretary that proper arrangements had been made for polling at all the four assembly constituencies -- Manali, Kullu, Banjar and Ani.

In all, 604 polling centres have been set up in the Kullu district including six critical and 55 sensitive centres. Earlier, they visited Killar, the headquarters of the Pangi valley in the Chamba district to review various arrangements for the by-elections.

Resident Commissioner Balwan Chand informed Chief Secretary Singh that there were 37 polling stations in the Pangi area. The bypolls to the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency and three assembly seats of Arki, Jubbal-Kotkhai and Fatehpur were due as they fell vacant following the deaths of sitting lawmakers. The Mandi seat fell vacant as BJP MP Ram Swaroop Sharma was found hanging in his official residence in New Delhi on March 17. Former state minister and Fatehpur Congress MLA Sujan Singh Pathania, former minister and Jubbal-Kotkhai MLA Narinder Bragta and former chief minister and Arki MLA Virbhadra Singh died in February, June and July respectively. Counting for the Mandi Lok Sabha and the three assembly seats will be held on November 2 after voting on October 30.

A total of six candidates including Ambika Shyam of the Rashtriya Lokniti Party, Munshi Ram Thakur of the Himachal Jankranti Party and independent candidates Anil Kumar and Subhash Mohan Snehi are in the fray for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat bypoll. Twelve other candidates are trying their luck for the three assembly seats of Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai. Rebel BJP candidate Chetan Singh Bragta is seen to be giving a tough fight to the BJP's Neelam Seraik in Jubbal-Kotkhai, where four candidates including Congress' Rohit Thakur and independent Suman Kadam are in the fray. A direct contest is likely between BJP's Rattan Singh Pal and Congress' Sanjay in Arki where independent candidate Jeet Ram is also trying his luck. In Fatehpur, the main contest is expected between Baldev Thakur of the BJP and Bhawani Singh Pathania of the Congress. In Fatehpur, Pankaj Kumar Darshi of the Himachal Jankranti Party and independents Ashok Kumar Somal and Rajan Sushant are also in the fray.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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