Himachal polls: A look at key players, constituencies in hill state

The Aam Aadmi Party is also aiming at making inroads into the hill state hoping to present a strong performance in the polls.
Himachal polls: A look at key players, constituencies in hill state
ANI

HIMACHAL PRADESH: With Himachal Pradesh all set to vote to elect a new government in the Assembly polls, the fate of the political parties will be decided by over 55 lakh voters today. The BJP is eying on retaining power in the state overturning the trend of an alternative government in the state since 1982, while the Congress is posing its faith in its '10 guarantees' that the party has promised to deliver on if it comes to power. The Aam Aadmi Party is also aiming at making inroads into the hill state hoping to present a strong performance in the polls.

However, both BJP and Congress are also fighting the problem of rebels on some seats. Let's take a look at the key constituencies to keep a close eye on throughout the voting and on the day of the counting of votes on December 8.

The key constituencies include Seraj from where Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur is contesting again. Congress has put up Chetram Thakur who had contested from the seat last time also. Mahinder Rana is the CPI-M candidate. Congress legislature party leader Mukesh Agnihotri is contesting his fifth election from the Haroli assembly segment in the Una district. BJP has pitted state spokesperson Ram Kumar against him.

Former Himachal Pradesh Congress chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, seen as a chief ministerial aspirant, is contesting from Nadaun. The BJP has fielded Vijay Agnihotri. Former Himachal Minister and Congress leader Asha Kumari is contesting from Dalhousie. She is pitted against BJP's DS Thakur and AAP's Manish Sareen.

Senior Congress leader Kaul Singh Thakur is again fighting from his traditional seat of Darang against BJP's Puran Chand Thakur and AAP candidate Sunita Thakur. Vikramaditya Singh, son of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, is recontesting from Shimla rural. BJP has fielded Ravi Mehta from the seat.

In Shimla Urban, Congress' Harish Janartha is taking 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 fielded a new candidate Ranveer Singh who is fighting against Ajay Mahajan of Congress and Manishi Kumari from AAP.

Bhawani Paathania, who won the recent by-election from Fatehpur, is fighting against BJP minister and candidate Rakesh Pathania. AAP has fielded former Himachal minister Rajan Sushant. In Nagrota, Congress candidate RS Bali is fighting against BJP candidate Arun Kumar Mehra and APP candidate Umakant Dogra.

Speaker of Himachal Pradesh Assembly Vipin Parmar is fighting from Sulah against Jagdish Sapheia and AAP candidate Ravinder Singh. In Sujanpur, Congress has again fielded Rajinder Singh Rana who defeated former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal in the 2017 elections. BJP has fielded Ranjit Singh from the seat and AAP has fielded Anil Rana.

Dr Janak Raj of BJP is taking on senior Congress leader Thakur Singh Bharmauri from Bharmaur. AAP has fielded Prakash Chand Bharadwaj. In Jubbal Kotkhai, the Congress has fielded sitting MLA Rohit Thakur. He is fighting against Chetan Singh Bragta of BJP. CPI-M has fielded Vishal Shangta and Shrikant Chauhan is AAP candidate.

Former Congress state chief Kuldeep Rathore is pitted against CPI-M's Rakesh Singha, BJP's Ajay Shyam and AAP's Attar Singh. Minister Suresh Bhardwaj was shifted from Shimla to Kasumpti. Congress candidate Anirudh Singh and CPI-M candidate Kuldeep Singh Tanwar are also in the fray

BJP brought star campaigners like Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party chief Jagat Prakash Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for the polls. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also campaigned in the hill state. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also hit the ground along with other top leaders of the party including Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. Saturday's polls also carry much significance for JP Nadda since Himachal Pradesh is his native state.

According to Election Commission, a total 7,881 polling stations has ben set up for tomorrow's polls. The Kangra district has maximum 1,625 polling stations while Lahaul-Spiti district has the lowest 92. There are 7,235 polling stations in rural and 646 polling stations in urban areas. Besides, three auxiliary polling stations will also be set up at Sidhbari (Dharamshala), Bara Bhangal (Baijnath) and Dhillon (Kasauli).

Meanwhile, 67 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) comprising 6,700 personnel and 15 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) companies have been depoyed for holding free and fair Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh. Besides this, 50,000 government employees have been put on poll duty. As many as 25,000 police officers are also stationed across the state.

Teams from the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) comprising 800 personnel have also been posted. In 2017, BJP swept the Himachal polls, bagging 44 of the total 68 seats while Congress managed to get just 21 seats

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