As the election season turns up all eyes are set on two states Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, in which both the BJP and the Congress are tied up in a fierce contest to come back to power. The November 9th assembly elections held in Himachal Pradesh achieved a record voter turnout of 74.6 % for the 68 member assembly.
History repeated itself when the female voters outnumbered the male ones this time unlike normal polls where more male voters line up in the queue. The Himachal Pradesh elections marks the duel of two big parties-the Congress and the BJP pitched against each other.
However the fate of both the parties remain sealed in an envelope till the polling gets over in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home ground. While it’s the Congress who has held the reins of the state for past six terms, it’s BJP candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal who’s looking for a major comeback.
Ever since BJP President Amit Shah took over the reins of BJP in Himachal, people have pinned their hopes for a season of change in the political scenario. This year’s voter turnout of 74.6 % broke the 2003 record of 74.5 %, an opportunity the BJP has been seeking to make it an anti-incumbency issue apart from corruption and mafia raj.
The Congress on the other hand is cashing in on the anti-incumbency factor of centre to counter BJP’s attack on the Virbhadra Singh government.
But the most priceless moment of the polling scene was the presence of the oldest voter of the nation, centurion Shyam Saran Negi, who cast his vote in the Kinnaur district, who walked 10 kms, distance along with his wife Hira Mani.
Mr.Negi was a government school teacher who retired in 1975. He was the first voter of independent India’s Lok Sabha elections held in 1951 at Kinnaur, known as Chini constituency back at that time. It was a time when voting at the snow bound areas was held ahead of other places.
An avid patriot Mr. Negi never missed an opportunity to vote as he believes, ” You must vote for a people-friendly government,” the oldest voter added.”
Statistics pulled up by the election commission reveals that women exceeded male voters across the 7525 polling booths. And of the 37.21 lakh votes polled, 19.10 lakh women voted against 18.11 lakh men.
The highest turnout for the polls was at Sirmaur with 81.5 % while the lowest poll presence was recorded at Hamirpur-the home district of Dhumal- with 70.19%.
The Una constituency is keeping close heeled watch as Satpal Singh Satti and Satpal lock horns with each other. Also at the Dharamsala constituency BJP’s Kishan Kapoor is toeing the line with Congress candidate Sudhir Sharma.
At the Jogindernagar seat Congress Gulab Singh Thakur is contesting with a polling turnout of 72.4% against the 71.81% back in 2012.
In 2003 when Virbhadra Singh formed the government replacing Prem Kumar Dhumal, the elections registered a poll percentage of 74.5 % creating a landmark of sorts.
While in 2007 when Congress suffered a big defeat sweeping BJP back in power with Dhumal, the state recorded a slump in voter turnout with 71.6 % people casting votes.
As it goes by saying that higher the turnout of voters tougher is the nut to crack for the candidates.
So come December 18th we will get a broader picture of the fate of two bigwigs who are keeping their fingers crossed to dig into the biggest share of seats in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections.