DEHRADUN: Over 68 percent of the electorate in Uttarakhand voted today, two per cent more than the last Assembly polls, to decide the fate of 628 candidates in 69 out of the total 70 seats.
The turnout in the 2012 Assembly polls was around 66 per cent.
The State Election Office here said over 68 percent of the electorate cast their votes by 5 pm but many people were still standing in the queues outside the booths, implying that the poll percentage may go up by the time the final figures are collated.
Poll schedule for the lone Karnaprayag seat in Chamoli district had to be revised to March 9 due to the death of BSP candidate Kuldeep Singh Kanwasi in a road accident on Sunday last.
Polling took place amid tight security, with nearly 30000 security personnel being deployed at 10685 booths, of which 460 were in snowbound areas.
For the first time, Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines were used in three constituencies including BHEL Ranipur, Dharampur and Rudrapur.
In most of the seats, ruling Congress and BJP are locked in a straight contest. However, rebel candidates of both the parties are in the fray as independents in several constituencies and may upset the calculations of the official nominees of their respective parties.
Among those testing their political luck are 12 former Congress MLAs who are in the fray as BJP candidates this time.
They include Yashpal Arya (Bajpur), Harak Singh Rawat (Kotdwar), Shailarani Rawat (Kedarnath), Shailendra Mohan Singhal (Jaspur), Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion (Khanpur), Pradeep Batra (Roorkee) and Subodh Uniyal (Narendranagar).
Haridwar (rural) and Kichcha in Udhamsingh Nagar district are two high-profile seats to be watched out for as Chief Minister Harish Rawat is in fray from both.
Chaubattakhal is also an important seat from where Satpal Maharaj is contesting besides Ranikhet from where Pradesh BJP president Ajay Bhatt is in the fray.
BJP, while making corruption its main poll plank, has asked people to vote for change whereas Congress has sought a second term in power to carry out unfinished development work.