Polling begins for 3 Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla, July 10 (IANS) Polling for three Assembly constituencies—Dehra, Nalagarh and Hamirpur—began on Wednesday across 315 polling stations, with 13 candidates in the fray for the bypoll. A total of 2.59 lakh electorates will cast votes till 6 p.m.

The polling is being conducted to fill vacancies created by the resignation of incumbent members.

The ballots will be counted on July 13.

In a straight contest between traditional arch-rivals, the Congress and the BJP, the stakes are high for Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu with his wife Kamlesh Thakur making her electoral debut from Dehra in Kangra district.

This constituency was carved out after delimitation in 2010 and the Congress has never won this seat.

The Chief Minister campaigned aggressively in Dehra, compared to two other seats, to ensure victory for Kamlesh Thakur, who is in the fray against BJP nominee Hoshiyar Singh, who won the seat as an Independent candidate in 2022 for the second consecutive time.

In 2012, Ravinder Singh Ravi of the BJP was elected from Dehra.

To woo the electorate, Sukhu said during the campaigning, “Dehra will technically get a CM (Chief Minister) if they elect his wife.”

The main opposition BJP, which has won all four seats in the just concluded parliamentary elections, has fielded K.L. Thakur from Nalagarh and Ashish Sharma from Hamirpur, where they will be pitted against Congress’ Hardeep Bawa and Pushpendra Verma, respectively.

Both K.L. Thakur and Ashish Sharma won the seats as Independent candidates in 2022 before joining the BJP earlier this year.

The duo, along with Hoshiyar Singh, resigned from the Assembly in March and joined the BJP.

The bypolls were necessitated after the Speaker accepted their resignations on June 4.

Earlier, in a major reprieve to the state government, the Congress won four out of six bypolls on June 4.

However, it lost all four Lok Sabha seats to the BJP for the third time in a row.

With four new legislators, the Congress has stabilised its government in the state.

At present, the Congress has 38 MLAs in the Assembly House of 65, while the BJP has 27.



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