Himachal Pradesh elections 2017: It’s Virbhadra Singh versus Prem Kumar Dhumal
New Delhi: Voter turnout in the Himachal Pradesh elections till 10am was 12.7%, according to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Voting will take place between 8am and 5pm for the 68-member state assembly on Thursday.
The state is facing a high-pitched two-cornered contest between the incumbent Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Results for the assembly polls will be announced along with those for Gujarat elections on 18 December. The term of the assembly ends on 7 January.
Approximately 5 million people, including 2.4 million female voters, will cast their votes in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, which will decide the fate of 338 candidates across 68 assembly seats. The ECI has set up 7,525 polling stations across the state.
The Congress campaign is led by 83-year-old incumbent chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who is a six-time chief minister from the state and is contesting for his seventh term. While the BJP campaign has seen Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and several Union ministers coming out to campaign, the party announced the name of 73-year-old former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal to lead the party in the elections.
The election comes in the backdrop of increased incidents of crime in the state along with alleged corruption allegations against the chief minister.
The Congress party, meanwhile, highlighted issues of demonetisation and goods and services tax (GST) to attack the BJP in the run-up to elections.
In this election, Singh has decided to change constituencies from Shimla (rural) to Arki to make way for his son, Vikramaditya Singh, to contest from his seat. BJP’s Dhumal has also changed his constituency to Sujanpur.
Himachal Pradesh would be the second state, after Goa earlier this year, to use a 100% paper audit trail or VVPAT. The Election Commission has also decided, on a pilot basis, to hold counting in one polling station in each assembly constituency.
In the 2012 assembly elections, the Congress formed the government after securing 36 seats with a vote share of 42.8%, while BJP won 26 seats with a vote share of 38.47%.
PTI contributed to this story