Himachal Pradesh: The polling for the assembly elections is underway in the state’s 68 constituencies and would go on till 5 pm on Thursday. The battle would be fought between 337 candidates. A total of 50,25,941 are eligible to cast their vote.
The battle is mainly between Bharatiya Janta Party candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal and Congress candidate and current Chief Minister Vir Bhadra Singh.
Below are the main candidates contesting for the polls and their profiles:
Prem Kumar Dhumal: was the 12th chief minister of Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. He has twice been Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh from March 1998 to March 2003 and again from 1 January 2008 to 25 December 2012.
Dhumal is pitted against his protege Rajender Rana of the Congress, who is banking on the works undertaken by him.
Like chief minister Virbhadra Singh, Dhumal has been criss-crossing the state for canvassing and his campaign here is being mainly handled by his younger son Arun Dhumal while elder son and Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur have also canvassed.
Vir Bhadra Singh: He is a senior Congress leader and current Chief Minister of Himachal. He has been serving as a CM of the state since 2012.
Both Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Dhumal have shifted their constituencies and are contesting from Arki and Sujanpur.
BJP’s campaign against Congress has been on the grounds of corruption charge against Vir Bhadra.
Sukh Ram: He was former Congress leader but later got inducted in Congress after being snubbed by Congress and not being invited to Rahul Gandhi’s rally for not sharing cordial relations with several leaders in Congress.
He is said to have an impressive clout in Mandi district, despite being known for several corruption cases.
It is said that Sukh Ram joined the BJP after meeting BJP national president Amit Shah in Delhi.
Anil Sharma: He was the second important leader who quit Congress and joined BJP just ahead of the polls after Sukh Ram. He is contesting the elections from Mandi.
Anil Sharma was a member of Committee Land Reforms, National Institute of Rural Development, Social Audit Panel, and Active Member of Legislative Assembly. He was a member of the Assembly from 1977-82, 1982-85, 1990-92, 1993-98 and 2012 to present.
Vikramaditya Singh: He is the son of Himachal Chief Minister Vir Bhadra Sing and is making his debut in electoral polls. He is a Congress party's candidate from Shimla Rural Assembly constituency.
Vikramaditya has been fielded by the Congress from his father's constituency in the state Assembly elections.