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Dar Ovais

Dar Ovais is the Dharamshala-based correspondent in the Himachal Pradesh bureau of Hindustan Times. He covers politics, tourism, Tibetan affairs and environmental issues.

Articles by Dar Ovais

Hotel occupancy up as tourists throng Himachal to beat the heat

To beat the heat, tourists are flocking to Himachal Pradesh, causing hotel occupancy to go up at the major tourist destinations in the state. After a slowdown due to the Lok Sabha elections, the state has seen a significant increase in tourism in recent days.

On Saturday, tourists had to wait for hours in queued vehicles to enter McLeodganj in Dharamshala due to a significant increase in the number of visitors over the past few days. (HT Photo)
Updated on Jun 10, 2024 05:06 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

Himachal Lok Sabha polls: NOTA top pick after Cong, BJP, all BSP candidates lose deposit

NOTA was first introduced in 2013 in the country and gives an option to voters to reject all candidates contesting from a constituency

The vote share of all four BSP candidates added up to a paltry 21,404 votes (0.52%), even lower than NOTA’s 23,125 (0.57%). (HT File)
Published on Jun 08, 2024 05:36 PM IST
By, Dharamshala

BJP romped home in most assembly segments falling under Hamirpur, Kangra

Behind the victories of BJP’s Anurag Thakur and Rajeev Bhardwaj, in Himachal’s Hamirpur and Kangra respectively, were leads in all assembly segments in both the constituencies

The Congress again failed to break the saffron party’s winning streak in Lok Sabha polls in Himachal. (HT File)
Published on Jun 07, 2024 02:11 PM IST
By, Dharamshala

Women voters win Himachal’s turnout battle

Despite poor female candidate representation, women voter turnout in Himachal surpassed men in 3 out of 4 constituencies. Overall votes increased by 5.28%.

Women voters lined up outside a polling booth in Kullu, Himachal Pardesh. (HT Photo)
Updated on Jun 06, 2024 02:05 PM IST
By, Dharamshala

Kangana is the ‘Queen’ in Mandi

Ranaut, whose successful Bollywood outing with the film “Queen” had catapulted her to widespread recognition, secured 5,37,022 votes against Vikramaditya Singh, who polled 4,62,267 votes

Kangana Ranaut thanking her supporters after winning the Mandi Lok Sabha seat on Tuesday. (Birbal Sharma/HT)
Updated on Jun 05, 2024 07:44 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

Himachal assembly byelections: Congress ahead in four seats, BJP in two

Congress candidates leading in Sujanpur, Lahaul-Spiti, Gagret and Kutlehar, while BJP nominees, who are Congress turncoats, are ahead in Dharamshala and Barsar.

People watching the live telecast of the Lok Sabha election results on a screen installed at the Ridge in Shimla on Tuesday. (Deepak Sansta/HT)
Published on Jun 04, 2024 01:08 PM IST

All eyes on Mandi ‘crown’ as D-day finally arrives

Exit polls have predicted a win for Kangana Ranaut, who shot to fame after her successful Bollywood film “Queen”, over Vikramaditya Singh, the scion of the Bushahr royal family

BJP’s Mandi Lok Sabha candidate Kangana Ranaut (HT File)
Updated on Jun 04, 2024 08:42 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

Mountains and glaciers no barriers for Tashigang and Bara-Bhangal voters

Voters at world's highest polling station in Tashigang and remote Bara-Bhangal post 80% and 85% turnout for Lok Sabha polls despite rough terrain.

HT Image
Updated on Jun 02, 2024 12:14 PM IST
By, , Shimla/dharamshala

69% register their choice in Himachal assembly bypolls

Kutlehar recorded the highest voter turnout of 76.2% from the seast Himachal assembly seats tagt went for bypolls

Voters queueing up outside a polling booth in Himachal. (HT Photo)
Published on Jun 02, 2024 12:11 PM IST
By, Dharamshala

Mountains and glaciers no barriers for Tashigang and Bara-Bhangal voters

Tashigang and Bara-Bhangal are the world’s highest and one of Himachal’s most remote polling booth respectively

Voters being welcomed at the polling booth in Tashigang, Himachal. (Aqil Khan/HT)
Published on Jun 02, 2024 12:07 PM IST
By, , Shimla/dharamshala

Kangana Ranaut, Vikramaditya Singh hope to ride high turnout wave to victory

The seat is witnessing a high-profile election battle, as actor-turned-politician Kangana Ranaut makes her electoral debut on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket.

Congress’ Mandi Lok Sabha candidate Vikramaditya Singh after casting his voter. (HT Photo)
Updated on Jun 04, 2024 07:30 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

2023 monsoon havoc fresh on Mandi voters’ minds

Some blame the central government for not doing enough to help the debt-ridden state cope with the disaster, while others criticise the state government for failing to provide relief to everyone in need.

Polling team members setting up a booth for voting in Mandi on Friday. (Birbal Sharma/HT)
Updated on May 31, 2024 11:31 PM IST
By, Mandi

The fading scent of Kangra tea worries growers in lead-up to Lok Sabha elections

As the election season nears its conclusion, stakeholders await acknowledgment and commitment from political leaders towards the revival and promotion of Kangra tea

Once popular in Europe, Central Asia, the Karga tea has lost favour and production has plummeted in recent years (HT File)
Published on May 31, 2024 07:36 PM IST
By, Palampur

Aurangzeb’s soul has entered Congress: Yogi Adityanath

Addressing an election rally in Barsar, Hamirpur, for party candidate and Union minister Anurag Thakur, Yogi in a fiery speech said that Congress’s ‘virasat’ tax is like Aurangzeb’s ‘jizya’

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath in Kullu, Himachal Pardesh. (Aqil Khan/HT)
Published on May 31, 2024 11:40 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

Kangra Constituency Wach: Debutants battle as Congress eyes BJP fort

In the last six Lok Sabha elections, the constituency has consistently favoured the BJP, with the exception of 2004 when the Congress bagged the seat

Kangra goes to polls with the rest of Himachal on June 1. (HT File)
Updated on May 31, 2024 11:38 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

Hamirpur: Anurag Thakur seeks fifth term on development pitch

Hamirpur was the epicentre of the rebellion faced by the Congress government earlier this year; four of the six by-elections are being held in Hamirpur.

Chandigarh: Union Minister and BJP candidate from Hamirpur constituency Anurag Thakur during a public meeting ahead of the seventh phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Chandigarh, Wednesday, May 29, 2024. (PTI Photo) (PTI05_29_2024_000293A)(PTI)
Published on May 30, 2024 11:25 PM IST

Every vote counts: Polling staff afoot to HP’s remotest booth in Bara-Bhangal

Two army choppers will airlift the polling party comprising of four people, one wireless operator, one booth level officer and a policeman with polling equipment from Yol Cantt

A reserve team, which will stay in Chamba, also left from Baijnath. (HT Photo)
Updated on May 30, 2024 09:40 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

Need people’s support to make India ‘vishwa guru’: Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari canvas for BJP Hamirpur and Mandi Lok Sabha candidates Anurag Thakur and Kangana RaRnaut

Former CM Jai Ram Thakur, BJP’s Mandi candidate Kangana Ranaut and Union minister Nitin Gadkari during a campaign tally in Kullu, Himachal. (HT Photo)
Updated on May 30, 2024 09:32 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

People ready for change: Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor said Congress, while campaigning in Himachal’s Dharamshala, mainly is presenting two issues before the public all over the county and one of them was the danger being posed to the Constitution

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was campaigning in Himachal’s Dharamshala. (HT File)
Updated on May 30, 2024 09:28 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

Mandi: Where a royal scion is locked in battle with a Bollywood star

Nestled in the heart of Himachal, the constituency boasts starkly contrasting landscapes ranging from hot and humid lush green valleys to towering mountains.

Congress candidate Vikramaditya Singh(PTI)
Updated on May 29, 2024 08:59 PM IST

Interview | In HP, contest not between Congress-BJP, but BJP-public: CM Sukhu

The four Lok Sabha constituencies of Kangra, Mandi, Hamirpur and Shimla (SC) in Himachal Pradesh go to the polls on June 1.

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu narrowly survived a topple bid in February when six Congress MLAs rebelled and are now contesting the assembly byelections as BJP candidates. (HT file photo)
Updated on May 29, 2024 07:07 AM IST

BJP will do anything to grab power: Priyanka Gandhi in Himachal

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi says PM Narendra Modi disrespected voters by ‘trying to topple’ democratically elected government

Congress’ Kangra candidate Anand Sharma (extreme left), general secretary Priyanka Gandhi (centre) and senior leader Asha Kumari (extreme right) at a campaign rally in Chamba, Himachal. (HT Photo)
Updated on May 28, 2024 01:01 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

Survival at stake, Sukhvinder Sukhu leads Congress battle in six Himachal assembly bypolls

Winning the bypolls is crucial for Congress in the state as the party’s strength in the 68-member assembly fell to 34, while the BJP has 25 MLAs

Himachal CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu addressing a public gathering on the campaign trail in Dharamshala. (Source: X)
Updated on May 28, 2024 05:10 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

Vikramaditya, Kangana trade barbs as Agniveer turns major poll issue in Himachal

Congress candidate from Mandi Vikramaditya Singh said as soon as the INDIA bloc government is formed, a permanent recruitment will be carried out in the army.

Congress’ Mandi Lok Sabha candidate Vikrmaditya Singh during election campaign in Sarkaghat, Himachal. (Birbal Sharma/HT)
Updated on May 27, 2024 02:54 PM IST
By, Dharmashala

Tried to ‘steal’ power instead of helping after Himachal’s monsoon disaster: Rahul Gandhi hits out at Modi

Rahul Gandhi says Centres waived off loans worth ₹16 lakh crore for 22 individuals over the last decade, but failed to give ₹9,000 cr for disaster relief

Congress’ state unit president Pratibha Singh, CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, senior party leader Rahul Gandhi and party’s Shimla Lok Sabha candidate Vinod Sultanpuri during the election rally in Nahan, Himachal. (HT Photo)
Published on May 27, 2024 01:10 PM IST
By, , Shimla/dharamshala

PoK is ours and we will take it back: Amit Shah at Himachal rallies

While addressing twin election rallies in Dharamshala and Una, Shah said, “I am telling this in ‘Veerbhumi’ (land of brave) that the BJP is not scared of the atom bomb. I am reaffirming today that the PoK belongs to India and we will take it back. Why are they making us afraid? We are not afraid of the atom bomb.”

Castigating the Congress for trying to “frighten” the BJP by saying the neighbouring country possesses atom bombs, home minister Amit Shah asserted on Saturday that the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is a part of India and “we will take it”. (HT Photo)
Updated on May 26, 2024 07:20 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

PM Modi targets Congress, calls Sukhu govt ‘talabaaz sarkar’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led Congress government in Himachal Pradesh a “talabaaz sarkar” for shutting down the staff selection commission and several offices set up by the BJP government that preceded it.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to the supporters during a public meeting supporting BJP candidate from Mandi seat Kangana Ranaut for the Lok Sabha elections, in Mandi on Friday. (Birbal Sharma/HT)
Updated on May 25, 2024 05:14 AM IST
By, , Shimla/ Mandi

‘Kangana giving competition to comedian Kapil Sharma: Vikramaditya’s fresh jibe

Says she should return to Mumbai after June 4 to continue her film career or she could start ‘Comedy show with Kangana Ranaut’

Congress’ Mandi candidate Vikramaditya Singh during an election campaign on Tuesday. (ANI)
Updated on May 23, 2024 06:22 AM IST
By, Dharamshala

Rebellion to resilience, Congress gets battle-ready for Hamirpur

Himachal Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu spearheads Congress campaign as party looks to cash in on public annoyance with rebels in Hamirpur

CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu being welcomed by Congress workers at a campaign rally in Barsar, Hamirpur. (HT Photo)
Updated on May 22, 2024 09:42 AM IST
By, Hamirpur

Fears grip Kangra village after hydroelectric project leak

The project management have raised concerns claiming that residents are not allowing access to carry out protection work

The project management has diverted the water with the Kangra district administration’s permission but protection work is pending (HT File (Representative image))
Updated on May 21, 2024 09:06 AM IST
By, Dharamshala
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