Even as the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are keeping their fingers crossed over the outcome of the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat, the contest is learnt to have become a favourite among the punters.
Psephologists and political analysts are predicting a close contest in Hamirpur from where former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s parliamentarian son Anurag Thakur is facing former’s one time protégé Rajinder Rana. Rana’s hectic electioneering in Hamirpur had made Anurag Thakur run for every vote. Anurag is facing the toughest election of his life this time. Anurag had won the 2009 Lok Sabha election by over 75,000 votes against Congress’ Narender Thakur. However, this time the political dimensions changed rapidly in Hamirpur, known to be the bastion of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.
Anurag had to work hard to shun the tag of a jet setting leader, chief minister Virbhadra Singh had put all his might to win the seat that has remained with the BJP for the past 16 years.
Virbhadra Singh’s son Vikramaditya Singh, who heads the state Youth Congress, camped at Hamirpur for more than 20 days. Rana had walked every nook and corner of Hamirpur.
Barring his initial statewide touring, former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal spent much of his time touring Hamirpur. Bookies have been projecting Narender Modi’s as the next prime minister. In Hamirpur, the contest is evenly poised. “ Dono Anurag ka aur Rana ka bhao brabar hai (Both have been priced equally,” a local shopkeeper in Shimla told Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity. It is learnt that both Anurag and Rana are carrying a rate of Rs 35 paise.
The betting is prevalent in suburbs and towns. Traders are divided between Rana and Anurag when it comes to betting. The bookies is learnt to have gathered information from the election staff on the voting g pattern.
While state agencies have predicted three seats going in Congress’ kitty, the central agencies are giving two each to the Congress and the BJP. But both have predicted a close contest in Hamirpur. So far, both Rana and Anurag had been claiming victory in the elections.