Himachal Pradesh will go to polls on Thursday in a two-pronged election battle between national parties Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and incumbent Congress. While the BJP has named Prem Kumar Dhumal as its chief ministerial candidate, the Congress will be banking on Virbhadra Singh to retain power in the state.

In the current Himachal Pradesh assembly, the Congress and the BJP have 35 and 28 MLAs, respectively, in the 68-member house. Besides, there are four independents, while one seat is vacant. The Congress and the BJP have been returning to power alternately since 1985. The BJP is claiming that it is their turn to stage a comeback.

There are 338 candidates in the fray in Himachal Pradesh elections, including 16 CPM candidates and over 180 independents and a dozen rebels of the Congress, including former ministers Singhi Ram (Rampur) and Vijay Singh Mankotia (Shahpur). In all, 19 women candidates are in the fray. The BJP has fielded six women candidates, while the Congress has given tickets to three women candidates, including sitting Rajya Sabha member Viplov Thakur who is contesting from Dehra.

A look at the key numbers that matter in Himachal Pradesh elections:

68: Total number of assembly constituencies going to polls.

338: Total number of candidates.

19: Total number of women candidates.

12: Maximum number of candidates contesting from one seat—Dharamshala assembly constituency.

2: Minimum number of candidates contesting from one—Jhanduta (SC).

14: Number of third gender registered voters.

5,025,941: Total number of voters in Himachal Pradesh elections.

2,568761: Total number of male voters, including 37,440 service personnel.

2,457,166: Total number of female voters, including 134 women service personnel.

112: Number of independent candidates contesting in Himachal elections.

42: Total number of Bahujan Smaj Party (BSP) candidates contesting.

21: Assembly constituency number of Lahaul and Spiti—largest in terms of area. The constituency is also smallest in terms of electorate.

14: Assembly constituency number of Sullah, which has the largest electorate.

7,525: Number of polling stations in Himachal Pradesh elections.

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