69% register their choice in Himachal assembly bypolls - Hindustan Times

69% register their choice in Himachal assembly bypolls

By, Dharamshala
Jun 02, 2024 12:11 PM IST

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

Among the six seats on which bypolls were held alongside Lok Sabha polls in Himachal, Kutlehar recorded the highest voter turnout of 76.2%. The total turnout stood at 69%.

Voters queueing up outside a polling booth in Himachal. (HT Photo)
Voters queueing up outside a polling booth in Himachal. (HT Photo)

Coming in at second was Sujanpur, which recorded

74.1% turnout, followed by Lahaul-Spiti 73.72% and Dharamshala 71%.

The voter turnout in Gagret and Barsar assembly segments was recorded at 68.28% and 50% respectively.

The outcome of the bypolls is critical for the stability of the chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led Congress government in the state.

The bypolls were necessitated by the rebellion of six Congress legislators, who had voted for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Harsh Mahajan in the February 27 Rajya Sabha elections. After their disqualification for defying the party whip to vote for Congress nominee Abhishek Manu Singhvi, they joined the BJP in Delhi and were fielded as the saffron party’s candidates for the bypolls.

After the rebellion, the Congress’ strength fell from 40 to 34 in the 68-member assembly, where the BJP has 25 MLAs. The BJP fielding all six rebels who had won from their respective seats in the 2022 assembly polls has complicated the equation for the Congress.

A party needs 35 members in the House for a majority. Notably, however, the fate of three Independent MLAs who had also voted in favour of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls only to later resign and join the saffron party is up in the air. Their resignation is pending before the Speaker, while a petition is also being heard in court.

Four of the six byelections are being held in Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency.

Sukhu led from the front

The Congress, being spearheaded by Sukhu, who represents Nadaun in the assembly, ran a high-decibel campaign against BJP, accusing the party of orchestrating the rebellion to destabilise the state government by using money power.

The CM, after casting his vote on Saturday, said the people of the state must ensure the importance of their votes is maintained. “The candidate who won by the vote of the people sold themselves. That is why I say that to maintain the importance of their vote, people have to contest and win these elections,” Sukhu said.

Meanwhile, Congress turncoat and BJP Sujanpur candidate, Rajinder Rana, after casting his vote, said all previous records will be broken in these elections. “People are supporting Lotus. As far as parliamentary elections are concerned, Anurag Thakur will get the highest lead from Sujanpur. In by-elections, all previous records will be broken this time,” he said.

As many as 25 candidates are in fray on six seats.

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