Lacklustre Himachal poll campaign ends

May 12th, 2009 - 12:16 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Shimla, May 11 (IANS) The curtains came down Monday on campaigning for the four Lok Sabha seats from Himachal Pradesh that was by and large devoid of din and colour.
Thirty-one candidates are in the fray for the state’s four Lok Sabha seats - Shimla (Scheduled Caste), Kangra, Mandi and Hamirpur, where polling will be held in the fifth and final phase May 13.

The main contest is between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Congress leader and five-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh is pitted against the BJP’s three-time MP Maheshwar Singh from Mandi. Sitting Congress MPs Dhani Ram Shandil and Chander Kumar have been fielded from their Shimla and Kangra seats 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 the Mandi seat - Onkar Shad, a technocrat, who is expected to affect the Congress’ chances. 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 Janshakti Party has fielded only one candidate, Keshab, from Kangra.

On the last day of campaigning Monday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and BJP leader Narendra Modi held election rallies across the state.

Earlier, prominent leaders like Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani visited the state to woo voters.

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