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Lok Sabha Election 2019, Himachal Pradesh profile: Congress likely to wage tough battle with BJP; Mandi, Shimla key seats

Himachal Pradesh has only four parliamentary constituencies and 68 Assembly constituencies. The state, which currently is a BJP bastion, has seen bipolar elections in its history, the two biggest parties being BJP and Congress.

There are 68,64,602 people living in the state, most of whom live in rural areas, according to the 2011 Census. The Himalayan state has a rural population of 90 percent. After Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh has the second highest number of scheduled castes residing in the state. The census recorded 56 scheduled castes found in the state.

Spread over 55,673 square kilometres, there 12 districts in the state.

The apple-growing state has traditionally sided with BJP and Congress in the General Elections. In the last General Elections, the state was influenced by the Narendra Modi-wave and voted for the party. However, the party has not fulfilled all the promises made then such as increasing the import duty on apple and setting up fruit processing units. Government employees are also upset with BJP for not forming a committee for revision of pension despite the party’s promises in 2014.

The anti-incumbency sentiment may work in the favour of the Congress, which is planning to field party heavyweight and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh from Mandi. The Mandi constituency, home to current Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, will hold key this election. The chief minister and BJP politician recently laid the foundation for an Rs 215-crore drinking water supply project, a move that may sway votes in his party’s favour. Shimla constituency, too, holds importance this season as Dalit candidates clash to beat incumbent BJP leader Virendra Kashyap.

Here is a brief profile of the four Lok Sabha constituencies in the state:

1. Hamirpur Lok Sabha Constituency

Constituency number: 3

Total electors: 12,24,834 (2014 estimates)

Female electors: 6,09,825

Male electors: 6,15,008

Reserved: No

Delimited: No

Assembly Constituencies: Dehra, Jaswan-Pragpur, Dharampur, Bhoranj, Sujanpur, Hamirpur, Barsar, Nadaun, Chintpurni, Gagret, Haroli, Una, Kutlehar, Jhanduta, Ghumarwin, Bilaspur, Sri Naina Deviji

Results in last four Lok Sabha elections: The BJP has held sway on this constituency since 1998 elections. In 1999 and 2004, Suresh Chandel was elected as the MP from this constituency. He was succeeded by Anurag Singh Thakur, who won majority in 2009 and 2014 elections.

Demographics: Hamirpur district has a population of 4,54,768, of which 93 percent live in rural areas, according to the latest Census of 2011. Of the total population, 24 percent belong to the Scheduled Castes. It is also home to the Ghirath or Chowdhary caste, a forward caste primarily descending from Rajputs and Brahmins. Hamirpur was the only constituency that didn’t vote for Congress in the 2004 elections when the grand old party sent three MPs from the state. In all four elections, the Congress has emerged a close second. The seat is currently held by Anurag Thakur, the former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

2. Kangra Lok Sabha Constituency

 Lok Sabha Election 2019, Himachal Pradesh profile: Congress likely to wage tough battle with BJP; Mandi, Shimla key seats

Kangra is the most populous district in the state. Image credit News18

Constituency number: 1

Total electors: 12,33,862 (2014 estimates)

Female electors: 6,06,046

Male electors: 6,27,816

Reserved: No

Delimited: No

Assembly Constituencies: Churah, Chamba, Dalhousie, Bhattiyat, Nurpur, Indora, Fatehpur, Jawali, Jawalamukhi, Jaisinghpur, Sullah, Nagrota, Kangra, Shahpur, Dharamshala, Palampur, Baijnath

Results in last four Lok Sabha elections: In the 1999 election, BJP heavyweight in the state Shanta Kumar fought and won the seat. The seat was taken over by Congress in 2004 when Chander Kumar won. In 2009, BJP made a comeback when Rajan Sushant won. Party veteran Shanta Kumar fought again in 2014 and emerged victorious.

Demographics: Kangra is the most populous district in the state. Of the 15,10,075 people living in the district, 94 percent reside in rural areas. It also has the second highest number of Scheduled Tribes population in the state (84,564). The Gaddi tribe is the most prominent of them. Almost 45 percent of the population earn their living as cultivators, according to Census 2011. BJP is planning to field former chief minister and sitting MP Shanta Kumar. The party’s tribal cell second-in-command Trilok Kapoor has also thrown his hat into the race. The Congress, meanwhile, may choose Gaddi tribe leader Thakar Singh Bharmouri.

3. Mandi Lok Sabha Constituency

Constituency number: 2

Total electors: 11,40,489 (2014 estimates)

Female electors: 5,60,053

Male electors: 5,79,736

Reserved: No

Delimited: No

Assembly Constituencies: Bharmour, Lahaul and Spiti, Manali, Kullu, Banjar, Anni, Karsog, Sundernagar, Nachan, Seraj, Darang, Jogindernagar, Mandi, Balh, Sarkaghat, Rampur, Kinnaur

Results in last four Lok Sabha elections: BJP candidate Maheshwar Singh won the seat from Mandi in the 1999 elections. He was succeeded by Congress candidate Pratibha Singh. Former chief minister Vibhadra Singh was elected MP from Mandi in 2009 INC. BJP made a comeback with Ramswarup Sharma in 2014 elections.

Demographics: Formed with the merger of two princely states, Mandi and Suket, the Mandi district has a population is 9,99,777. According to the 2011 Census, Mandi is inhabited primarily by Hindus and the original inhabitants are Rajputs, Brahmins, Khatris and Kanets. Home of chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, Mandi is an important constituency of the BJP. Meanwhile, Congress is likely to field former chief minister Virbhadra Singh from here.

4. Shimla Lok Sabha Constituency

Constituency number: 4

Total electors: 11,45,028 (2014 estimates)

Female electors: 5,44,211

Male electors: 6,00,816

Reserved: Yes. For Scheduled Castes

Delimited: No

Assembly Constituencies:Arki, Nalagarh, Doon, Solan, Kasauli, Pachhad, Nahan, Sri Renukaji, Paonta Sahib, Shillai, Chopal, Theog, Kasumpti, Shimla, Shimla Rural, Jubbal-Kotkhai, Rohru

Results in last four Lok Sabha elections: In 1999, Lt Colonel Dhaniram Shandil from Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) won the seat. In 2004, HVC merged with the Congress party and Shandil was elected again from the constituency. In 2009, BJP candidate Virendra Kashyap won the seat and continued to win in the 2014 elections.

Demographics: The Shimla district has a population of 8,14,010, according to 2011 Census, of which 24.74 percent. It is a reserved constituency where sitting MP Virendra Kashyap is facing anti-incumbency sentiments. He had promised to get tribal status for the Hatti community in the constituency but has failed to do so.

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.

Updated Date: Apr 04, 2019 14:35:08 IST

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