Nearly 69 per cent polling was recorded for two assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh on Monday, a state election official said.

Pachhad saw nearly 73 per cent voting as per preliminary reports, whereas 65.39 per cent of eligible voters exercised their franchise in Dharamshala, he added.

The voting was held from 8 am to 5 pm in the state.

In Dharamshala, 53,063 electors– 26,423 men and 26640 women–cast their votes, a district official said.

The votes of service electors had not been included in the turnout so far, he added.

The voting began at a slow pace at 8 am, however it picked up during the day.

However, the electors, who stood in queues at the polling stations by 5 pm, were allowed to cast their votes, he added.

A total of 202 polling stations were set up for Pachhad and Dharamshala seats, Additional Chief Electoral Officer (Additional CEO) Rupali Thakur said.

While 113 polling stations were set up in Pachhad, 89 were in Dharamshala, she added.

An auxiliary polling station was also set up at the Dari old age home to facilitate 24 elderly inmates to cast their vote in Dharamshala, Thakur said.

Thirteen polling stations in Pachhad and 10 in Dharamshala were identified as vulnerable, Thakur said, adding that four polling stations in Dharamshala were critical.

A total of 12 candidates tried their luck for the two seats.

Seven candidates including Vishal Nehriya of the BJP and Vijay Inder Karan of the Congress were in fray from Dharamshala.

Five candidates, including Reena Kashyap of the BJP and Gangu Ram Musafir of the Congress, tried their luck from Pachhad.

The byelections to Pachhad and Dharamshala assembly seats were necessitated after sitting BJP MLAs Suresh Kashyap and Kishan Kapoor were elected to the Lok Sabha this May.

The bypolls were considered a litmus test for Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur as the ruling BJP looked to not only retain the seats but also increase the margin.

The opposition Congress is hopeful to win the two seats.

In the last Assembly elections held in December two years ago, Suresh Kashyap had defeated his nearest rival former minister Musafir with a margin of 6,427 votes in Pachhad.

In Dharamshala, the victory margin of Kishan Kapoor of the BJP over Sudhir Sharma of the Congress was of 2,997 votes.

The counting of votes will take place on October 24.