31 in poll fray from Himachal Pradesh

April 27th, 2009 - 10:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Shimla, April 27 (IANS) A total of 31 candidates have been left in the fray for the four parliamentary constituencies in Himachal Pradesh, a senior state poll official said here Monday.
“Thirty-one candidates are in the fray for the May 13 parliamentary elections in the state after five aspirants withdrew their papers on the last day of withdrawal of nomination (Monday),” state Chief Electoral Officer Anil Khachi told IANS.

“The Kangra constituency has the maximum number of 10 candidates in the fray,” he said.

The hill state has four Lok Sabha seats - Shimla (Scheduled Castes), Kangra, Mandi and Hamirpur - and the main contest is between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Congress leader and five-time Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh is pitted against Maheshwar Singh, the BJP’s three-time MP.

Two sitting Congress MPs, Dhani Ram Shandil and Chander Kumar, have been fielded by the party in Shimla and Kangra respectively against the BJP’s Virender Kashyap and Rajan Sushant.

From Hamirpur, the Congress has fielded BJP rebel Narinder Thakur against the BJP’s sitting MP Anurag Thakur, who is the son of state Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

For the first time, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has fielded a candidate from this seat - Onkar Shad, a technocrat, who is expected to dent the Congress’ winning margin. All these years, Left-leaning voters had been voting for the Congress in this seat.

While the Bhaujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded candidates for all the four seats, the Lok Jan Shakti Party has fielded one candidate, Keshab, from Kangra only.

“There are nine Independent candidates in the race in the state. The Kangra seat has the maximum number of four Independents,” the official said.

The Election Commission has set up 7,251 polling stations in the state to enable 4,604,832 voters to exercise their franchise through 11,000 electronic voting machines.

“The state has 697 hypersensitive and 1,263 sensitive stations,” Khachi said.

“Kinnaur district, adjoining China, has the highest number of 36 hypersensitive polling stations, while the Chamba assembly segment has the maximum number of 55 polling stations,” he said.

More than 15,000 police and paramilitary personnel would be deployed in the state on the poll day, he said.

“Polling material has reached almost all the polling stations, including those located in three assembly constituencies of Lahaul and Spiti, Bharmaur and Kinnaur.

“The polling exercise is a difficult task in these tribal constituencies as one-third of the booths are located at altitudes above 13,000 feet,” added Khachi.

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