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5 Interesting Battles in Himachal

Himachal Pradesh will vote tomorrow. The hill state has seen an interesting mix of campaign styles, issues (both national and local) and speculation about whether the hill state will break its ‘riwaaz’ of anti-incumbency and bring the BJP back to power.

While most polls have predicted a victory for BJP, experts are eager to see if Congress’s choice of issues close to the people — old pension schemes, for example — will help it take the power seat in the state.

As the fight draws closer, News18 takes a look at some interesting polls the hill state will face tomorrow:


The seat of Seraj Vidhan Sabha (Assembly) in Himachal Pradesh is said to be Jairam Thakur’s (Bhartiya Janata Party) turf, falling under the Mandi District (BJP). Jai Ram Thakur was elected to the Seraj seat in 2017. He defeated congressional candidate Chetram Thakur by 11,254 votes. He was the first legislator of Mandi district to be elected chief minister of the hill state.

Asked about his choice as the CM face, Jairam Thakur said it was a decision to be made by the BJP.  (Twitter @jairamthakurbjp)
Jai Ram Thakur was elected to the Seraj seat in 2017. He defeated congressional candidate Chetram Thakur by 11,254 votes (Image: @jairamthakurbjp/Twitter)

While the seat is expected to be taken by the BJP or Congress, the AAP has also drafted a candidate for the prestigious seat.

Kasauli (SC)

Rajiv Saizal, Minister for Family Welfare, Health and Ayurveda, will run for reelection in Himachal Pradesh from Kasauli (SC), a seat he previously won three times. Congress Party’s Vinod Sultanpuri is challenging him, as he did in 2017 and 2012. Prior to Saizal’s victory, Kasauli (SC) was a congressional stronghold, with Raghu Raj winning five consecutive elections.

Vinod Sultanpuri had emerged as Congress’ best bet, but he is now facing opposition after the Block Congress Committee, led by an opposing group, was recently disbanded. The presence of AAP is likely to have an impact on both the BJP and Congress’ electoral prospects, a report by Tribune states.

Kasumpti – A non-royal outsider to the former king

The ruling BJP in Himachal Pradesh is trying to race a non-royal approach in Shimla’s Kasumpti Assembly constituency by State Minister of Urban Development Suresh Bhardwaj, aiming to destabilize the congressional bastion, a UNI states report. When the constituency is called Kasumpti, the electoral swords are often drawn between members of the Koti and Junga royal families.

In a triangular bout on November 12, saffron heavyweight Bhardwaj will face the former ‘king’ Anirudh Singh of Koti’s royal estate for Congress and pro-peasant CPM candidate Dr. Kuldeep Singh Tanwar (also a descendant of the Koti dynasty).

Struggling Journo becomes CM candidate in Haroli

Mukesh Agnihotri, the incumbent Congressional MLA from Haroli, is the state’s opposition leader. He has represented the Haroli constituency since 2003 and is considered one of the CM faces of the Congress party. Former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is said to have accompanied the former journalist. Ram Kumar, the BJP’s state spokesman, is challenging him after losing to Agnihotri in the previous election.

An Outlook report states that Agnihotri once fought for his job as a journalist but rose to power once he entered politics.


Sarveen Chaudhary, the BJP’s social justice and empowerment minister, will face Congress’ Kewal Singh Pathania in Kangra’s Shahpur. Pathania finished third in the Himachal Pradesh elections in 2017, behind Major Vijai Singh Mankotia (Retd). Major Vijai Singh Mankotia (retd), a senior leader and former Congress minister, ran as an independent candidate in Shahpur in 2012 and 2017. Mankotia joined the BJP this time. Congress could take advantage of the fact that locals in the region are said to be angry at Mankotia’s decision to join the BJP and are likely to vote for Kewal Singh in protest.

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