Amit Shah makes special appeal to ‘mothers, sisters, youth’ as Himachal votes in key assembly elections
The BJP is aiming to retain power in Himachal Pradesh, and break the tradition since 1982 wherein the party and rival Congress alternatively ruled the northern hill state.
Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday appealed to all “mothers, sisters and youth” of Himachal Pradesh to vote in “maximum number” and elect a “strong government” in the northern hill state as the key assembly elections got underway.
“Only a strong and corruption-free government can fulfill the aspirations of the people of Devbhoomi by keeping Himachal Pradesh at the forefront of development,” his tweet, roughly translated from Hindi, read.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to Twitter to urge voters to cast their franchise. He appealed to the people of the state to participate in the polling with “full enthusiasm” and create a “new record”. His tweet carried “special wishes” for first-time voters.
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jairam Thakur also took to Twitter to urge citizens of the state to vote in “huge numbers”. In a tweet written in Hindi, the BJP leader said, “pehle matdaan, phir jalpaan (first vote then refreshments)”, adding that one vote will “create a prosperous Himachal”.
More than 5.5 million people are voting in the high-stakes assembly elections today, in which as many as 412 candidates are in the fray for 68 assembly constituencies. Of the candidates, only 24 are women while 99 are independent. The ruling BJP and rival Congress have fielded candidates in all seats.
The saffron camp is aiming to retain power in the hill state, and break the tradition of alternative governments in Himachal Pradesh that has been noticed since 1982. The Congress, meanwhile, is striving to make a comeback. Arvind Kejriwal-headed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which registered a thumping victory in Punjab assembly polls earlier this year, is also contesting with the goal of putting up a strong performance.
The BJP had brought in several of its star campaigners before the polls, including PM Modi. On the other hand, Congress - which is relying on its “10 guarantees” laid down in the poll manifesto, had seen general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, among other top party leaders, campaign.
In 2017, the voter turnout was recorded at 75.57 per cent and the BJP had whitewashed it by bagging 44 of the 68 seats. The grand old party could manage to win only 21.
The voting that commenced at 8am will continue till 5pm. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has set up 7,884 polling stations, of which, 7,235 are in rural areas while 646 are in urban pockets of the northern hill state. There are a total of 5,592,828 registered voters, with 2,854,945 being men and 2,737,845 women.