Voting has begun in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh for crucial Assembly elections. Contenders for CM seat – Prem Kumar Dhumal and Virbhadra Singh – have already caste their votes. While some of the other big names – Anurag Thakur, JP Nadda and Shanta Kumar – will hog the limelight throughout the day. The election is crucial as it will see three former chief ministers, over a dozen former ministers and 62 MLAs getting their sealed in the ballot box. 337 candidates are in fray for 68 constituencies. Another remarkable aspect of these elections is that eight of current Chief Parliamentary secretaries are fighting elections:
Here is what some of the top leaders have said while casting their votes:
Prem Kumar Dhumal
BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal has caste his vote. He was accompanied by his son and Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur. “We aime to get 50 plus seats but now that we are receiving so much support from all sections of the society, we expect it to cross 60,” Dhumal, BJP’s CM candidate, said.
Current Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has caste his vote in Shimla along with his son Vikramaditya. Singh has exuded confidence that Congress party will be victorious with full majority. “Confident of getting majority in the election, the next Government too will be of Congress,” Singh was quoted as saying by ANI.
Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur has caste his vote. Thakur went to vote along with his father and CM candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal. “Time has come, people have made up their mind to get rid of Congress who has looted Himachal Pradesh,” Thakur said. “The state needs a senior leader like Dhumal ji to look at the affairs of Himachal which is under the debt of more than Rs 50,000 crore,” he added.
Union Minister JP Nadda has cast his vote at a polling booth in Bilaspur. He is yet to comment.
Shanta Kumar at polling booths
Yet to caste vote
For security purposes, 11,500 Himachal Pradesh police jawans, 6400 Home guards have been deployed. DGP Somesh Goyal said that 65 companies of paramilitary forces also stationed. As many as 7,525 polling booths have been set up in the state and 37,605 polling personnel have been deputed for poll duty. The 12-days high-voltage campaign, which came to an end on Tuesday, saw over 450 rallies by star campaigners of the BJP and the Congress including Prime minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
In an interesting move, BJP has fielded four Congressmen including former minister Anil Sharma and given ticket to on Independent from Chopal while Congress had fielded two independents from Paonta Sahib and Kangra. Virbhadra Singh and Dhumal have shifted their constituencies and are contesting from Arki and Sujanpur.