Voting for 68 seats in Himachal on Sunday | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Voting for 68 seats in Himachal on Sunday

delhi Updated: Nov 03, 2012 19:30 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The high pitch electoral battle with new lows between the Congress and the BJP will culminate on Sunday with voting scheduled for 68 member state legislative assembly.

The BJP tried to corner the Congress stalwart Virbadhra Singh with allegations of corruption but its impact is unlikely in the state where the core election issue had been pace of development, rising unemployment, increase in prices and high levels of petty corruption.

Singh has openly accused the chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal of BJP of giving away chunks of prime land to private players at throwaway prices. The same accusation had also come against Dhumal from within BJP.

The political parties had a tough time gauging the water with electorate maintaining stoic silence and attendance in rallies being poor.

This was despite both the parties coming out with several promises to allure the voters during the campaign period.

While BJP and the Congress are contesting all 68 seats, the BSP has emerged as the third largest party in fray with its candidates in 66 seats.

However, going by the past performance where BSP received less than 2% votes, it may not turn the applecart in the state.

But, the surprise factor may be Himachal Lokhit Party led by four time MP and former BJP state president Maheshwar Singh, which is contesting in 36 seats.

The rebel candidates of BJP and Congress, contesting in over half of the total seats, have a potential in some segments to turn the tide away from the main political parties.

In all there are 459 candidates in the fray for Sunday polling with just 27 women even though the women voters in the state outnumber men voters.

The Election Commission has set up as many as 7253 polling stations with the highest polling station in the country at Hikkim in Lahaul and Spiti at a height of over 15,000 feet.

The statistical tide favours Congress as never a party has repeated a government since 1977 when Shanta Kumar of BJP became the youngest chief minister of the state.

The electoral results to be announced on December 20 with that of Gujarat could witness emergence of younger leaders in both Congress and BJP.

Many believe that it may be last innings for chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Singh of Congress at helm of affairs in the state politics.

In the 2007 poll, BJP had won 41 as against Congress' 23, while the independents and BSP won 3 and one seat respectively.