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HindustanTimes Fri,21 Nov 2014

Lok Sabha elections: Poll heat rises in Shimla hills

PTI  Shimla, May 01, 2014
First Published: 20:52 IST(1/5/2014) | Last Updated: 20:54 IST(1/5/2014)

Normally full of revellers escaping from the searing summer heat elsewhere at this time of the year, the 'Queen of Hill stations' Shimla now is filled with anxious air as Lok Sabha polls enter the last leg with arch- rivals Congress and BJP locked in a pitched battle here.

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In a multi-cornered fight, sitting MP Virender Kashyap of BJP riding on the so-called 'Modi wave' is confident of defending the seat from six opponents. Congress' Mohan Lal Brakta, Aam Aadmi Party's Subhash Chander and Gurnam Singh Koli of Bahujan Samaj Party are among those vying for this seat, a well-known tourist hub.

The constituency, which has a total of 11,34,628 electors out of which about 53 per cent per cent are male, goes to polls on May 7 alongwith three other constituencies in Himachal Pradesh.

"Modi wave is there, as was evident in all the three rallies he addressed in Himachal Pradesh.

People came from all over the state. He has special affection for the state as he was the state party in-charge for eight years and he knows workers personally," Kashyap told PTI.

The 63-year old Kashyap, who in 2009 won this seat reserved for SCs by a margin of about 27,000 votes, said people would vote in favour of Modi as they were tired of "price rise, corruption and a weak central government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh".

"All our workers are working with great enthusiasm to help Modi become Prime Minister of the country," he added.

On the other hand, Congress is looking to regain its traditional stronghold, which it ceded to the rival in 2009.

Congress candidate Mohan Lal Brakta, a sitting MLA from Rohru and a loyalist of state Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, rubbishes Kashyap's claims of support for Modi.

"There is no Modi wave here. And if at all there is any influence of Modi, it is only limited to Gujarat and even of that I am not sure (if it is there). There is Raja Virbhadra Singh, Sonia-Rahul Gandhi and Congress-wave here. So we are confident of winning the seat by a big margin," Brakta, 48, claims.

The development work which the Congress has done in the state as well as Centre is there for all to see, he added.

The Shimla seat, comprising 17 assembly constituencies, has been a Congress stronghold traditionally. Since 1967, the party has won the seat nine times, while BJP has only won it once, when Kashyap emerged victorious in 2009.


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