As the election campaign in Himachal Pradesh picks up steam, top Congress leaders are making a beeline to the hill state where polling will be held on November 4.
While Congress president Sonia Gandhi has already addressed a rally in Mandi on Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to visit the state soon.
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi will undertake a day-long campaign on Thursday, addressing three separate meetings in the districts of Lahaul and Spiti, which remain cut off from the rest of the country for six winter months, Kangra and Solan.
With the ruling BJP and the Congress, which is seeking to return to power in the hill state, locked in a tough fight, rebels of both parties are set to play spoilsport in many constituencies.
The BJP is facing problems posed by its rebels in more than 40 constituencies and has already expelled ten of them while the Congress has thrown out six of its dissenting leaders and half a dozen still remain in the fray.
The Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP), floated by dissident BJP leaders, has fielded candidates on 36 seats.
The Nationalist Congress Party and Trinamool Congress are also testing the waters in the hill state.
While West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's party has fielded 28 candidates, most of them Congress dissidents, the NCP of agriculture minister Sharad Pawar is contesting from 12 assembly segments.