The people of hill state Himachal Pradesh are going to vote on Thursday. The state would witness a close contest between BJP and Congress.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal are contesting polls from Arki and Sujanpur respectively.
Virabhadra is contesting against a political greenhorn Rattan Singh Pal of BJP in Arki constituency of Solan district after leaving the Shimla Rural seat for his son Vikramaditya Singh.
Arki, capital of the erstwhile princely state of Baghal, saw the BJP deploying its star campaigners like UP Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath and state BJP incharge Mangal Pandey to target the six-time Himachal Pradesh chief minister over corruption and other issues.
Apparently confident of victory, the 83-year-old Congress veteran had not visited the constituency after filing his nomination papers and is campaigning in other districts for the November 9 election. Enthused Congress workers claim a win in Arki will also impact the adjoining constituencies of Solan.
The BJP denied ticket to its two-time MLA Govind Ram Sharma which has lead to claims of some discontent among party workers.
Prem Kumar Dhumal
BJP’s chief minister face and senior party leader Prem Kumar Dhumal, who has shifted from Hamirpur to Sujanpur Assembly constituency, is facing his old protag-turned-bete noir Rajinder Rana of the Congress.
Rana, who contested the 2012 election as an Independent and defeated his nearest Congress rival Anita Verma by 14,155 votes, is fighting the battle in his home turf and leaving no stone unturned.
Dhumal had contested from Hamirpur in 2012 but this time he is contesting from Sujanpur constituency where women outnumber men by over 2200 voters.
Rana had extended support to Virbhadra Singh after winning the polls last time and had resigned to contest Lok
Sabha polls from Hamirpur in 2014 while his wife, who contested the assembly by-election from Sujanpur lost by a thin margin.
BJP's decision to project Dhumal as a CM face has given a boost to the party's campaign in all five assembly segments in Hamirpur.
Dhumal supporters are upbeat and claim that now it is a cakewalk but Rana and other Congress leaders maintain that their over-confidence was misplaced. (With PTI Inputs)