71% turnout recorded in bypolls in 3 assembly seats in HP

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Shimla, Jul 10 (PTI) A voter turnout of about 71 per cent was recorded in the bypolls in three assembly constituencies of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday, according to data shared by the state election department.

Polling was peaceful in the Nalagarh assembly constituency, which recorded the highest polling of 78.1 per cent, Hamirpur (67.1 per cent) and Dehra (65.2 per cent), election officials said.

Data is being compiled and the polling percentages could increase, they said.

The seats fell vacant after Independent legislators Hoshiyar Singh (Dehra), Ashish Sharma (Hamirpur) and K L Thakur (Nalagarh), who had voted in favour of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls held on February 27, resigned from the state assembly on March 22 and joined the party the next day.

Their resignations, however, were accepted by the speaker on June 3. Their seats were declared vacant, necessitating the bypolls.

The BJP has fielded all the three Independent MLAs from their respective seats. The Congress has fielded Kamlesh Thakur, wife of Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, from Dehra, repeated its candidate Pushpinder Verma from Hamirpur and gave ticket to five-time Indian National Trade Union Congress president, Himachal Pradesh unit, Hardeep Singh Baba, from Nalagarh.

Talking to PTI, Singh said it is a fight between the "corrupt" Congress government in the state and innocent and honest people of Dehra.

Claiming that police in plain clothes have been following him for the past few days and his supporters have been indirectly threatened, he alleged that the Congress government is misusing official machinery.

Confident of victory, Kamlesh Thakur told the PTI that the slogan of "Dehra ki beti" has worked and "I am getting love and support of the people and would definitely win the assembly bypolls".

Seizures worth about 3.4 crore were made by the state police, the Income Tax Department, the state tax and excise and industry departments since the model code of conduct was enforced, said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Maneesh Garg.

There are a total of 2,59,340 eligible voters in the three assembly seats. Thirteen candidates are in the fray in the three seats and the results will be declared on July 13. PTI BPL ANB ANB

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