Sunday 4 November 2012

Posted by Howzto
No comments | 14:35

Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. It is spread over 21,495 sq mi (55,670 km2) and is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east.As the battle lines stand drawn for the Sunday elections for the 68-member Himachal Assembly, it is now a make or break battle for two political heavyweights - Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and former Union Minister Virbhadra Singh.

Led by two-time chief minister Dhumal, the incumbent BJP is hoping to script history in the hill state by going the Punjab way, where the Akali-BJP combine returned to power against historical projections. Much like Punjab, Himachal has never repeated a government since 1977. Whether the November 4 elections mark a departure from norm or whether they see the Congress, led by five-time chief minister Virbhadra, repeating an Uttarakhand, remains to be seen.

“Uttrakhand chapter is irrelevant in Himachal. We are looking up to Punjab, where the performance chart of the government, rather than the Opposition Congress’s false propaganda, paid off . We will repeat the government,” Dhumal said.

While for Dhumal, a repeat victory would mean a stronger position within the BJP ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the party taking itself forward strongly in the next elections, for Virbhadra, who is fighting his last elections, winning is a matter of prestige considering the Congress hasn’t projected him as the CM candidate.

Having remained marginalised in state politics after he lost power in 2007, the Sunday elections are a last chance for Virbhadra, who had to resign from the Union cabinet after a court framed corruption charges against him. He was made the PCC president after Congress realised that only Virbhadra had the political capabilities to lead the party’s efforts to oust Dhumal.

“There is a strong under current against the BJP regime. Where ever I went, thousands of people came to listen me. Few approached individually to complain about corruption, lack of development, bad roads and land sales. There is a mood for change and Congress will form the next government,” said Virbhadra.

In the 2007 poll, BJP had won 41 as against Congress’ 23, while the independents and BSP won 3 and one seat respectively.

Corruption in both the BJP and Congress camps is a major election issue in the state, with the latter facing graver charges in the wake of scams such as coal block allocations, 2G spectrum and Commonwealth Games by Congress-led UPA at the Centre.

The much-hyped BJP offensive against Virbhadra on corruption in the wake of a series of graft allegations against him got diluted after Congress launched a counter-offensive against BJP in wake of allegations of “dubious” funding by companies of its President Nitin Gadkari.

In fact, by the end of canvassing, corruption had taken a rear seat with price rise emerging the strongest. The BJP leadership has used LPG cap and diesel cost hike issues well to push the Congress to the wall by telling the voters how their household budgets would go for a toss.

Though national and local issues would impact election results in their own way, the emergence of BJP rebels under the umbrella of Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP), led by former MP Mahshwar Singh, has made the fight interesting. HLP can pose a biggest threat to the ruling party in Kullu, Kangra, Shimla and Solan districts. Delimitation will also play a role in deciding fate of the candidates, both new and old.

This is election is more significant since both the parties in the election are national parties and the result will impact nationally.

It is a defining day for the people of himachal as they go to vote for those to remain in power for rest of 5 years.


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