Mandi bypoll | Voters to deck up in traditional attire at Tashigang, world's highest polling station

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Mandi bypoll | Voters to deck up in traditional attire at Tashigang, world’s highest polling station
© Provided by Hindustan Times The world’s highest polling station at Tashigang will also be decorated for the Mandi bypoll on October 30. (Representative Image/HT File)

Ahead of the Mandi bypoll, voters in Tashigang village have dusted off their traditional attires to celebrate the ‘festival of democracy’ at the world’s highest polling station.

Mandi, which is the second largest Lok Sabha constituency in the country after Barmer in Rajasthan, also boasts of the world’s highest polling station, which stands at an altitude of 15,256 feet above sea level. A polling station had been set up in the tiny hamlet for the first time during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Sub-divisional magistrate Mahender Pratap Singh said, “We are proud to have the highest polling station in the world. We have decided to decorate the polling station, which has been set up in a government building, to welcome voters.”

Villagers are also excited to cast their vote and have decided to dress in their traditional attires to celebrate the festival of democracy, the SDM said. The village, which is close to the Chinese border, has 47 voters, of which 29 are men and 18 are women. Agriculture is the mainstay of the villagers.

Booths at great heights

In the Jubbal-Kotkahi assembly, Adail village, which is situated 8,500 feet above sea level, is the highest polling booth in the assembly, while Pambad (6,204 above sea level) is the highest polling booth under the Arki assembly segment and Agahar (2,100 ft) holds the distinction in the Fatehpur assembly.

The hill state has numerous remote areas and Shaakti in GHNP under the Banjar assembly in Kullu district (Mandi Lok Sabha constituency) is the most far-flung polling station and the polling party will have to trek 24 kilometres on foot to reach the booth. In the Fatehpur segment, Sath-Kuthera in Kangra required the polling parties to trek 6km while in the Jubbal-Kotkhai segment, Dhansar was the most far-flung booth, requiring a 2-km trek.

Tough topography

Himachal Pradesh chief electoral officer C Paulrasu said, “Special arrangements have been made to transport EVM machines to the polling stations located at high altitudes. As many as 40 electronic voting machines and Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines have been sent to Kaza of Lahaul-Spiti district under the Mandi parliamentary constituency through helicopters amid tight security.These EVMs and VVPAT machines will be used in 29 polling stations set up in Kaza.

“The Mandi parliamentary constituency has a tough topography as it constitutes remote tribal areas and moreover there is chance of fresh snowfall in the higher reaches. We have asked the administration to deploy adequate men and machinery to ensure smooth polling in these areas,” he said.

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