Two times seem the charm for the Himalayan belt as polls show a clean BJP sweep in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The saffron party is expected to win all four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh — and four out of five in Uttarakhand.
Even though the predicted landslide victory can be attributed to the strong Modi wave that has taken over the country, the efforts of the party’s state representatives also play a huge role as does the excellent BJP booth-level election machinery.
All roads lead to Doon!
Congress's Harish Rawat fought elections for the first time in Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar constituency. (Photo: PTI)
As predicted, the 'Battle Royale' between former CM Harish Rawat and BJP's Ajay Bhatt seems to have a clear winner, with the latter leading in Nainital.
Forget pitching Gairsain as the state capital, Nainital has emerged as the hotbed of political activity in the state, pitting former and present state heads against each other.
Former Chief Minister Harish Rawat, after having won elections from Almora and Haridwar, has fought elections from Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar constituency for the first time. Meanwhile, the present CM Trivendra Singh Rawat also made an appearance in the area for the constituency’s candidate Ajay Bhatt (of the Sabki ek hi ratt....Ajay Bhatt... Ajay Bhatt fame).
Uttarakhand has witnessed a battle between the (prodigal?) son and chela. The former chief minister and senior BJP leader BC Khanduri's son Manish made waves when he joined Congress and now, he is pitted against his father’s disciple, Tirath Singh Rawat from the Pauri Garhwal seat.
While the rest of the constituencies have a clear BJP vs Congress trend, Haridwar has the Bahujan Samaj Party playing the third fiddle. And quite a strong one at especially if the SP-BSP alliance in UP and Uttarakhand works in their favour.
Congress fails to fight BJP in HP
Are we looking at the next CM of Himachal Pradesh? (Photo: PTI)
Despite a no-show by arch-rivals Congress’s Virbhadra Singh and BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal in Lok Sabha elections, the Himalayan state still witnessed exciting times. As of now, BJP's MP from Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur, is set to win the Lok Sabha elections 2019 — the party candidates Ram Swarup from Mandi, Kishan Kapoor from Kangra and Suresh Kumar Kashyap from Shimla are raking in numbers too.
The world’s highest polling booth, Tashigang village under the Mandi parliamentary seat, recorded an equally high voter turn-out. The constituency also witnessed some drama in the form of former union minister Sukh Ram versus current Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. The former’s grandson, Aashray Sharma, fielded by the Congress, is up against sitting BJP MP Ram Swaroop Sharma. Interestingly, Aashray’s father, Anil Sharma, and his father Sukh Ram switched loyalties to the BJP just before the Assembly election in 2017. In yet another recent switcheroo, Sukh Ram met Congress president Rahul Gandhi to bag a Congress ticket for Aashray.
Kangra also had its fair share of switch-ups. Congress gave the ticket to Pawan Kajal, a former BJP leader, who is fighting Kishan Kapoor of BJP — and not the four-time MP from the seat, former Union minister Shanta Kumar.
Meanwhile, Shimla will witness the Koli community’s military veterans locking horns as a former non-commissioned officer of the Indian Air Force, Suresh Kashyap of the BJP, takes on retired colonel Dhani Ram Shandil of Congress.
Former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal's son, Anurag Thakur of the BJP will be fighting Congress MLA Ram Lal Thakur amidst glaring anti-incumbency in Hamirpur.
Thakur will also be battling for the position of Chief Minister as many within the party are rooting for him as a potential CM candidate — this camp is opposed to others who want Union Minister JP Nadda to become the CM.