Forty-nine all-woman polling booths have been set up in Uttarakhand for the convenience of women voters as the state goes to polls tomorrow. The booths spread over the 13 districts of the state will be managed by women only, Chief Electoral Officer Saujanya said.
All polling personnel on duty at such booths, including the presiding officers, will be women, she added. There are 10 such polling booths in Dehradun, nine in Udham Singh Nagar district and six each in Almora and Nainital, she said.
In view of the large number of minority women in Haridwar district, "Pardanasheen booths" have been set up there for minority women who wear a veil.
It has been seen in the past that women who come to polling booths wearing a veil are unwilling to lift it before male poll personnel when they ask them to do so to verify their identity, she said.
"Hence, we set up 'Pardanasheen booths' with only women polling personnel on duty for their convenience," the chief electoral officer said.
All preparations for elections to the five Lok Sabha seats in the state tomorrow are complete, she said. Polling will begin at 7 am and go on till 5 pm, she said.
The fate of 52 candidates will be decided by a total of 78,56,268 voters in Uttarakhand, out of which 3,71,220 are women, she said.
Voters belonging to the third gender are 259 whereas service voters are 90,845. Haridwar has the highest number of 18,40,732 voters while Almora has the lowest number of voters at 13,37,803, she said.
The highest percentage of voters are in the age group of 30-39 years, who constitute 27.4 per cent of the electorate, whereas people above 80 years of age constitute 1.6 per cent, the chief electoral officer said.
A total of 11,229 polling booths have been set up across the state out of which 697 have been identified as sensitive and 656 as highly sensitive.
A total of 45,696 police, provincial armed constabulary, para military force and polling personnel have been deployed to conduct free and fair polls in the state, IG Police and Nodal officer Dipam Seth said.
High profile candidates in the fray are former chief minister Harish Rawat, who takes on Pradesh BJP chief Ajay Bhatt in Nainital, former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who faces Congress's Ambrish Kumar in Haridwar, BJP national secretary Tirath Singh Rawat, who is contesting against BC Khanduri's son Manish, a debutante, in Pauri and sitting MPs Ajay Tamta and Pradeep Tamta in Almora.
Ajay Tamta represented the reserved SC seat in the 16th Lok Sabha as a BJP member while Pradeep Tamta is a Congress member of Rajya Sabha from the state.