NEW DELHI: Over 72 per cent of 50.25 lakh electorate in Himachal Pradesh had exercised their franchise in the assembly elections on November 9 where the ruling Congress and the BJP were locked in a straight contest.
The Congress has projected incumbent Virbhadra Singh as its Chief Ministerial candidate, while former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is the BJP's. Both are contesting the elections.
The future of the arch-rivals will be pronounced on December 18, the day the votes cast will be counted along with those in Gujarat.
BJP to sweep Himachal Pradesh with 38 seats, predicts ABP Exit Poll
Vote share percentage in Himachal Pradesh (East)
BJP is likely to get 41% vote share while Congress to get 37%. Others are securing just 22% here.
During the campaigning, issues like development have been pushed to the background as personal attacks dominate most of the election rallies.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's son Vikramaditya Singh, making his political debut, is in the fray for Shimla (Rural), the seat his father won in the last assembly elections.
He's facing BJP's Pramod Sharma, a professor in Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla, who was once known for close proximity to Virbhadra Singh.
The Congress won 36 of the 68 seats in Himachal Pradesh in 2012 with a 42.81 per cent vote share, while the BJP bagged 26 seats with a 38.47 per cent vote share.
For the first time, Congress candidate Rajinder Rana, who has learnt political lessons for years from his once-mentor and two-time BJP Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, is now trying to 'teach' him a lesson through politics.
Likewise, candidate Rajesh Kashyap, a doctor-turned-politician who joined the BJP just a few days before the polls were announced, has been pitted against his father-in-law and Congress candidate Dhani Ram Shandil, a cabinet Minister in the present government.
Similarly placed is Congress legislator Anirudh Singh from Kasumpti, who has been pitted against his aunt and BJP candidate Vijay Jyoti Sen.