Himachal Assembly polls: Confident of winning 40-45 seats, says Congress chief Pratibha Singh
Vikramaditya who is a son of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, and also a sitting MLA from Shimla Rural was entrusted by the Congress once again and given a ticket against BJP's Ravi Mehta, AAP's Prem Thakur.
After casting her vote at Rampur in Shimla in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, Congress MP and state chief Pratibha Singh on Saturday appealed to vote for development and work while exuding confidence of winning 40-45 seats in 68 members Assembly. "We'd like to tell people of Himachal Pradesh to vote for development & work. Congress always worked for development & in the time to come only Congress can take that work forward in the state. We're confident of winning 40-45 seats," Pratibha Singh said.
Pratibha Singh and party MLA Vikramaditya on Saturday cast their vote at Rampur in Shimla in the assembly polls. Vikramaditya who is a son of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, and also a sitting MLA from Shimla Rural was entrusted by the Congress once again and given a ticket against BJP's Ravi Mehta, AAP's Prem Thakur.
"We would like to request the people to take Himachal forward and cast their votes in public interest, in the interest of Himachal Pradesh - to make it the best state in the country," Vikramaditya Singh said. Shimla Assembly constituency is set to witness a close fight among BJP, AAP, Congress and CPIM.
Pratibha Singh who represents the Lok Sabha seat has been campaigning for Congress' Chetram Thakur. It would be interesting to see if she is able to pull off the turf which presently belongs to the BJP (Jairam Thakur). Voting to elect the new government in Himachal Pradesh spread across 68 seats in the state began on Saturday morning at 8 am amid tight security in place.
A total of 55,92,828 electors who can cast their votes till 5 pm today will decide the fate of 412 candidates who are in the fray. Out of the total number of electorates, 27,37,845 are women, 28,54,945 men and 38 were third-gender. This time, the representation of woman candidates is 24.
The high-voltage campaigning by political parties had ended on November 10, following which it's up to the electorate of Himachal Pradesh to decide the political fate of the candidates today. The fight is in between the ruling BJP in the state which is looking to retain power ditching the trend of the alternate party coming to power every five years since 1982, and Congress which is banking on its '10 guarantees' that the party listed out in its manifesto to take them home. Aam Aadmi Party is in line looking to leave a mark in the state and thus contesting on all the 68 seats alone.
The challenge for the ruling BJP will be to buck anti-incumbency and change the trend of the alternate government. 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 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 Chattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel. According to Election Commission, a total of 7,881 polling stations have been set up for today's polls. The Kangra district has a maximum of 1,625 polling stations while the 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 have also been set up at Sidhbari (Dharamshala), Bara Bhangal (Baijnath) and Dhillon (Kasauli).
Among the key contests include Seraj where Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is contesting against Congress' Chetram Thakur and AAP candidate Gita Nand Thakur. Mahinder Rana is the CPI-M candidate. Congress state chief Mukesh Agnihotri who contesting his fifth election from the Haroli assembly segment in the Una district where BJP has fielded Ramkumar and AAP pitted Ravinder Pal Singh Mann.
In Hamirpur, BJP's Narinder Thakur is the key challenger against Congress' Pushpendra Verma and AAP's Shushil Kumar Surroch. Congress fielded Vikramaditya Singh, son of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh from Shimla Rural against BJP's Ravi Mehta and AAP's Prem Thakur.
In Mandi, the battle is between BJP candidate Anil Sharma and Congress' Champa Thakur. AAP fielded Shyam Lal in the seat. The Shimla Urban is among the most talked about seats this time as BJP gave a ticket to Sanjay Sood, who runs a tea shop in the city.
Meanwhile, 67 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) comprising 6,700 personnel and 15 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) companies have been deployed 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. (ANI)
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