Over 7,800 polling booths have been set up across the state. The elections in Himachal Pradesh come ahead of nine state elections due next year, including the Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
Minutes before polling, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an appeal to voters to “participate with full enthusiasm in this festival of democracy and create a new record of voting”. “Today is the polling day for all the assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh. I request all the voters of Devbhoomi to participate with full enthusiasm in this festival of democracy and create a new record of voting. My special wishes to all the youth of the state who voted for the first time on this occasion.
The state has, over the years, seen bipolar contests between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its arch-rival, the Congress. In the 2017 polls, the BJP won 44 seats (up from 26 in 2012), while the Congress candidates were victorious only on 21 seats (down from 36 in 2012). However, this time, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also in the fray.
This will be decided today by the more than 55 lakh voters who will decide the fate of 412 candidates, including Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, former CM Virbhadhra Singh’s son Vikramaditya Singh, in the elections in 68 constituencies across the state.
About Himachal Pradesh:
Himachal Pradesh “Province of the Snow-laden Mountains is a state in the northern part of India. Situated in the Western Himalayas, it is one of the thirteen mountain states and is characterized by an extreme landscape featuring several peaks and extensive river systems. Himachal Pradesh is the northernmost state of India and shares borders with the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to the north, and the states of Punjab to the west, Haryana to the southwest, Uttarakhand to the southeast and a very narrow border with Uttar Pradesh to the south.
The state also shares an international border to the east with the Tibet Autonomous Region in China. Himachal Pradesh is also known as Dev Bhoomi, meaning ‘Land of Gods’ and Veer Bhoomi which means ‘Land of the Brave’.