The result for Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh is expected to come out in a few hours. Both the ruling Congress and the Opposition BJP are claiming victory, however, the exit polls have predicted a clear win for the BJP. While the Congress dismissed the exit poll results, the saffron party expressed confidence that their performance would be better than the projections.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh dismissed the exit poll results, saying he could well read the mood of the people of the State and the actual results would be opposite to the exit poll projections. However, the 68 seat Assembly has traditionally seen both BJP and Congress take up power alternately. Here is a look at some of these key battles in the hill state.
The Mandi Assembly constituency is set to witness an interesting contest as former union minister Sukh Rams's son Anil Sharma, who is fighting from this seat, switched over to the BJP from the Congress days ahead of the elections. Sharma now faces Champa Thakur, the daughter of state health minister and party stalwart Kaul Singh Thakur.
Sukh Ram, who is 92 years old, actively campaigns for his son. However, the former Congress leader is still all praise for the Congress’ national leadership. “They are noble persons but are being mislead by Virbhadra Singh,” The Indian Express reported.
The Mandi seat was represented by Sukh Ram from 1962 till November 1984, when he was elected to the Lok Sabha and his protege DD Thakur won the seat in 1985. Now Sharma, who was also a cabinet minister in the Congress government, is depending on his father to pull of a win for the 2017 Assembly elections from Mandi.
Congress nominee Champa Thakur, chairperson of Mandi Zila Parishad, says she might be contesting Assembly polls for the first time, but she has been serving the people for the last 15 years. She is targeting Sharma and Sukh Ram over their “changing loyalties.”
A keen four-cornered contest is in the offing in the prestigious Shimla (Urban) constituency where three-time BJP MLA Suresh Bharadwaj is fighting a tough battle to retain his seat.
Bharadwaj will be taking on Harbhajan Singh Bhajji of the Congress, former mayor of the Shimla Municipal Corporation Sanjay Chauhan of the CPM, and Congress rebel Harish Janartha who is contesting as an independent. While a section of the BJP is not happy with the allocation of ticket to Bharadwaj, a large number of Congress leaders including SMC councillors have openly come out in support of Janartha, a staunch loyalist of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, making the Congress candidate jittery.
The BJP, which has got control over the municipal corporation for the first time in the past 31 years, is upbeat and hopes to win comfortably but with three other strong candidates in the fray, the going is not easy.
Kishan Kapoor who represents the BJP locks horns with Himachal's Urban development minister Sudhir Sharma from the congress for the Dharamshala Constituency. While the BJP is banking heavily on the smart city projects announced by the central government, the Congress-led state government is claiming credit for getting the key infrastructural project in Himachal’s kitty.
Independent candidate Ravinder Singh Rana’s fervent pitches to vote for development may also upset the equation of votes in either party’s favour. No Independent candidate has so far won from Dharamsala.
Another interesting turn to the contest is the fact that Tibetan refugees were allowed to cast their votes for the first time. Though present in small numbers, they too can sway the votes.
State Congress chief Sukhvinder Sukhu is facing a turf war against Vijay Agnihotri from the BJP for the constituency of Nadaun. Sukhu, who has been elected twice from the constituency, was defeated by Agnihotri in 2012 elections. He aims to reclaim the throne in 2017. Vijay Agnihotri who claims that congress was not doing a satisfactory job in their reign claims he will retain the seat after Monday’s result.
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Updated Date: Dec 18, 2017 09:26:36 IST