Shimla: Himachal Pradesh, where the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress are locked in an aggressive direct fight, recorded a voter turnout of 17.98 per cent in the first three hours till 11 am on Saturday, Election Commission said.
The voting commenced on a tardy note and gradually picked up pace in a state where the BJP is eyeing history by repeating its government, while the Congress is urging voters to go by the tradition of voting out the incumbent government.
The voting started on a slow note with only around 5 per cent polling recorded in the first hour.
Till 11 am, the highest polling of 21.92 per cent was recorded in Mandi, the home district of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur.
Sirmour district recorded 21.66 per cent polling, Solan 20.28 and Kinnaur 20 per cent, according to the EC. Lahaul and Spiti district recorded the lowest polling of 5 per cent in the first three hours.
Top leaders, including Chief Minister Thakur, voted in Mandi along with his wife and daughters after offering prayers at a local temple.
Himachal Congress chief Pratibha Singh and her son Vikramaditya Singh voted in Rampur. Earlier in the day, they offered prayers at Shani temple in Shimla.
Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, his son and Union Minister Anurag Thakur voted in Hamirpur along with other family members.
Former Union minister Anand Sharma voted in Shimla while CLP leader Mukesh Agnihotri and his family voted in Haroli, from where he is contesting.