GANGTOK: Voting got underway at the northeastern state of Sikkim on Thursday as an electorate of over 4 lakh would exercise their franchise to elect a new 32-member state legislative assembly as well as its only Lok Sabha member.
All arrangements have been made to conduct simultaneous polls in a free and fair manner on 32 Assembly seats as well as the lone Lok Sabha as per the guidelines of the Election Commission of India, Sikkim's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ravindra Telang told PTI on Wednesday.
The polling timings are from 7 am to 5 pm at 567 polling stations spread over four districts in Sikkim, he said.
There are 150 candidates in fray on 32 Assembly seats, while 11 candidates are contesting for the lone Lok Sabha seat.
Prominent candidates include Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, who is seeking a record eighth successive term as an MLA.
He is contesting from two Assembly seats - Poklok-Kamrang and Namchi-Singhithang.
Former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, who is the working president of the Hamro Sikkim party (HSP) has entered into the fray from two assembly seats as well, including Gangtok, reserved seat for the indigenous Bhutia-Lepcha communities.
As many as 39 of 567 polling station will be manned by all-women personnel.
The Election Commission has identified 120 polling stations as critical ones where the Centre Para Military forces will be deployed to supervise security arrangements during the day-long polling.
As many as 3,600 polling personnel and 4,000 security men, including 10 companies of SSB, have been deployed for election duty in Sikkim.
A total of 4,32,306 voters comprising 2,20,305 male and 2,12,001 female will exercise their franchise.
There are 30,480 are first-time voters, while 2042 voters have been registered as the People with Disabilities (PWD).