Himachal Pradesh votes today to decide fate of 412 candidates
Single-phase polling for Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections kicked-off on Saturday. The campaigning came to a close on Thursday evening with all political parties making extensive efforts to woo voters. A total of 68 Assembly constituencies go to polls in the state, where over 53 lakh voters will decide the fate of 412 candidates. The voting will be conducted from 8 am till 5:30 pm.
Why does this story matter?
Speculations of a close contest between the BJP and the Congress attributed to factionalism fell flat when 26 leaders of the latter joined the BJP. In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP won 44 out of 68 seats, while Congress won 21 seats. Apart from the two parties, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also trying to cement its foothold in the Himalayan state.
BSP, Left, regional parties also in the fray
The BJP, Congress, and AAP are contesting on all 68 seats, while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is fighting on 53 seats followed by Rashtriya Devbhumi Party (RDP) on 29 seats. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) will battle on 11 seats, and the Communist Party of India (CPI) on one seat. The votes will be counted on December 8.
Star-studded campaigners made poll pitch
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national secretary JP Nadda led the poll campaign for the BJP while Priyanka Gandhi Vadra helmed the campaign for the Congress, as Rahul Gandhi is busy with the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal, and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann campaigned for the AAP.
How did parties fare in the last election?
In the 2017 elections, the Congress was incumbent but the BJP drubbed it by garnering 49% of the votes, while the formed bagged 42% votes. The grand old party witnessed a 1% drop in its vote share as compared to the 2012 state elections, while the BJP recorded a more than 10% jump — a majority of which came from independent candidates.
What did opinion polls say?
As per the ABP News CVoter Survey from Wednesday, the BJP could win anywhere between 31 to 46 seats, while the Congress is looking at winning between 29 to 37 seats. The AAP is predicted to win either zero or one seat. Incumbent Chief Minister Jairam Thakur has emerged as the most favored choice for the next CM in opinion polls.
Election officials traversed through difficult terrains
Despite the snowfall, polling parties are performing their duty with great enthusiasm and reaching polling stations even in difficult terrains.@mangarg2002 @ECISVEEP @DDNewsHimachal @airnewsalerts @PIB_India #UTSAV #Ecisveep#hpelection2022 pic.twitter.com/1llDXqKlgD— CEO Himachal (@hpelection) November 10, 2022
The Himalayan state has many far-fetched villages
From highest polling station to travelling by chopper and by boat, Himachal has it all! Here is the polling party on way by boat to polling station Sath Kuthera in Fatehpur AC, situated on an island in Pong Dam. @mangarg2002 @ECISVEEP @airnewsalerts @DDNewsHimachal @PIB_India pic.twitter.com/CSNhrL4oV0— CEO Himachal (@hpelection) November 10, 2022