Voting on in by-elections in three northern states

May 22nd, 2008 - 12:00 pm ICT by admin  


Chandigarh, May 22 (IANS) Voting for by-elections to one Lok Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh, three assembly seats in Haryana and one in Punjab started Thursday morning. The by-elections are being held in the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh, assembly seats of Adampur, Gohana and Indri in Haryana and the Amritsar-south assembly seat in Punjab.

Voters trickled in slowly in most polling stations in all constituencies. Rain over most of north India kept many people indoors.

Thursday’s voting is being watched keenly in political circles of Himachal and Haryana as the fate of Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s son, Anurag Thakur, will be decided in the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat while veteran Haryana stalwart and former chief minister Bhajan Lal slogs it out to retain his Adampur assembly seat.

The Hamirpur seat - that is witnessing the third election in four years - fell vacant after Dhumal vacated it January this year after becoming the hill state’s chief minister.

Thakur’s victory against his main opponent O.P. Rattan of the Congress is already being seen as a foregone conclusion in Himachal.

In Haryana, the three assembly seats fell vacant after Bhajan Lal and his two supporters - legislators Dharampal Malik (Gohana) and Rakesh Kamboj (Indri) - were disqualified under the Anti-Defection Act for joining a newly floated party - the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC).

All three are in the fray again in the by-election. The election is being seen as a popularity test of Bhajan Lal and his new HJC party which is opposed to the ruling Congress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

In Punjab, polling for the Amritsar-south assembly seat also started Thursday morning.

There is a straight contest in the Sikh holy city between Inderbir Singh Bolaria of the ruling Akali Dal and Navdeep Singh Goldy of the Congress. The Akalis, being in power in the state and also because they had won the seat in the Feb 2007 elections, enjoy an upper hand in the poll.

The seat fell vacant following the death of the sitting Akali Dal legislator Raminder Singh Bolaria.

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