The day for the electorate to decide the political fate of leaders of all parties in Himachal Pradesh has arrived and polls for the parliamentary elections will start at 8 am on Saturday.
The high-tension political campaigns came to an end on November 10, setting the stage for voters to cast their votes to elect the new government. Voting lasts until 5 p.m. today. The votes will be counted on December 8.
The vote will take place in all of the state’s 68 Assembly seats, the majority of which (44) came in the BJP bag in the 2017 Assembly polls, which limited Congress to just 21 seats.
Voters must have their Elector Photo Identity Card (EPIC) with them and show it at the voting booth. In addition to their voter cards, they are also allowed to carry one proof of identity with them.
According to the Election Commission, a total of 55,92,828 voters, including 27,37,845 women, 28,54,945 men and 38 third genders, will determine the faith of 412 candidates. This time, the representation of female candidates is 24.
The state, which has seen power alternate between the BJP and Congress in recent elections, will go to the polls on Saturday. While the BJP has expressed confidence to come back to power based on the performance of state and central governments and its vision of the state, Congress hopes some of its election promises will have great appeal among the electorate.
The Aam Adami Party (AAP) also hopes to make a mark in the state and is competing for all 68 seats.
Besides these three parties, parties like Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Rashtriya Devbhumi Party (RDP) are in the fray.
BJP brought star campaigners such as Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Party Chief Jagat Prakash Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to the polls. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also campaigned in the hill state. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also hit the ground running along with other top leaders of the party including Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
Today’s polls also have a lot of significance for JP Nadda as Himachal Pradesh is his native state.
According to the election commission, a total of 7,881 polling stations have been set up for the elections. Kangra district has a maximum of 1,625 polling stations while Lahaul-Spiti district has the lowest 92. There are 7,235 polling stations in rural areas and 646 polling stations in urban areas. In addition, three additional polling stations will also be established in Sidhbari (Dharamshala), Bara Bhangal (Baijnath) and Dhillon (Kasauli).
Major constituencies include Seraj from where Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur is fighting again. Congress has placed Chetram Thakur, who had also fought from the seat last time. Mahinder Rana is the CPI-M candidate.
Mukesh Agnihotri, party leader of the Congress legislature, is contesting his fifth election from the Haroli assembly segment in Una district. BJP has turned state spokesman Ram Kumar against him.
Former head of Himachal Pradesh Congress, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, who is seen as a prime ministerial aspirant, is fighting from Nadaun. The BJP has dealt with Vijay Agnihotri.
Former Himachal Minister and Congress Leader Asha Kumari is fighting from Dalhousie. She is up against BJP’s DS Thakur and AAP’s Manish Sareen.
Senior Congress Leader Kaul Singh Thakur is fighting again from his traditional seat of Darang against BJP’s Puran Chand Thakur and AAP candidate Sunita Thakur.
Vikramaditya Singh, the son of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, is protesting from rural Shimla. BJP handled Ravi Mehta from the seat.
In Shimla Urban, congress’ Harish Janartha takes on BJP’s ‘chaiwala’ candidate Sanjay Sood. AAP’s Chaman Rakesh Ajta and CPI-M’s Tikender Singh Pawar are also in the fray.
In Nurpur, BJP has drafted a new candidate Ranveer Singh who is fighting against Ajay Mahajan of Congress and Manishi Kumari of AAP.
Bhawani Paathania, who won the recent Fatehpur by-election, is fighting BJP minister and candidate Rakesh Pathania. AAP has mobilized former Himachal minister Rajan Sushant.
Congress candidate RS Bali fights BJP candidate Arun Kumar Mehra and APP candidate Umakant Dogra in Nagrota.
Himachal Pradesh Assembly Chairman Vipin Parmar fights from Sulah against Jagdish Sapheia and AAP candidate Ravinder Singh.
In Sujanpur, Congress once again drafted Rajinder Singh Rana, who defeated former Prime Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal in the 2017 elections. BJP handled Ranjit Singh from the seat and AAP handled Anil Rana.
dr. BJP’s Janak Raj takes on senior congressional leader Thakur Singh Bharmauri from Bharmaur. AAP has dealt with Prakash Chand Bharadwaj.
Congress has drafted incumbent MLA Rohit Thakur in Jubbal Kotkhai. He is fighting Chetan Singh Bragta of the BJP. CPI-M has appointed Vishal Shangta and Shrikant Chauhan is an AAP candidate.
Former head of Congress, Kuldeep Rathore, is up against CPI-M’s Rakesh Singha, BJP’s Ajay Shyam and AAP’s Attar Singh.
Minister Suresh Bhardwaj was moved from Shimla to Kasumpti. Congressional candidate Anirudh Singh and CPI-M candidate Kuldeep Singh Tanwar are also in the fray.
Meanwhile, 67 Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) companies, comprising 6,700 personnel, and 15 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) companies have been deployed to hold free and fair elections in Himachal Pradesh.
In addition, 50,000 government employees have been appointed as polling stations. As many as 25,000 police officers are also stationed across the country.
Teams from the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF), consisting of 800 personnel, are also stationed there.
In 2017, BJP took the Himachal polls, taking 44 out of a total of 68 seats, while Congress only managed to get 21 seats.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)
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