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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Kangra, Mandi & Shimla districts hold the key to power in Himachal

The performance  in the three districts  of Kangra, Mandi and Shimla will more or less decide the fate of the parties in the upcoming  assembly  elections in Himachal on 12th of November. 

The three districts  have a combined tally of 33 seats which is almost  50% of the total  seats (68) in the legislative assembly. The parties  performing well in these 3 districts have gone on to form governments  in the State. 

Thus, in the 2017 elections  the BJP won 23 of the 33 seats in the 3 districts to be on the winning  podium with 44 seats with over 50% of the seats won from these three make or break districts. 

While in the 2012 elections it was the Congress’ turn to taste victory  as it clinched victories in 22 of the 33 seats to to form the government  with  a total tally of 36 seats which was almost  67% of the total  seats won. 

The 3 districts are bound to be crucial  for the parties in the 2022 elections  again and the party which performs well in all three will be the one which wins at the hustings. 

Shimla has been traditionally  a strong bastion of the Congress with two of the three chief  ministers of the Congress  namely  late  Ram Lal Thakur and 6 time CM late Virbhadra Singh coming from Shimla  district which boasts of 8 seats. In the 2017 elections, which Congress lost, it got 4 of the 8 seats in Shimla  district while the winning BJP won 3 with  one seat going to the communist party. 

Mandi district  with 10 seats is the home district  of the  incumbent  CM Jai Ram Thakur and in the 2017 elections  the BJP won 9 out of the 10 seats to make a killing in Mandi which  helped it to win the state along with  kangra where it won 11 seats. 

However, in the bypolls to the Mandi parliamentary  constituency held last year the  current Congress  state president  and  wife of late CM Virbhadra  Singh won the seat which  the BJP had earlier won by more than 4 lakh votes. 

Mandi Parliamentary  seat includes districts  of kulu, Mandi, Shimla, Kinnaur, Lahaul Spiti and  Chamba, and stretches  over 17 constituencies and for this reason the victory  was significant. If the Congress  is able to repeat  the last years performance in 2022 its victory would be assured in the upcoming  elections while  the BJP  would be hoping to wrest the initiative  back from the Congress and repeat its 2017 assembly performance  where the Congress could not manage to win even one seat out of the 10 on offer.

Talking about  Kangra, which has been the make or break district for government  formation, its  voting  for 15 seats would  be decisive in deciding  the fate of the parties. Octogenarian  Shanta Kumar of the BJP has been  a two time CM of the State from this political nerve centre of himachal. Kangra has been  famous  for changing  governments every 5 years by sending 9 or more MLA’S of one party to the Vidhan  Sabha thus ensuring that party’s  victory. 

Thus, in 2017 the BJP sounded the victory bugle in kangra and the state by winning 11 seats from kangra while in 2012 it was the Congress turn to emerge  victorious  as it won 10 seats from Kangra enabling it to win the state. As the State goes to the polls in 4 days time the BJP rebels numbering 18 and more could spoil  the party’s victory march more than the Congress. 

But the Modi magic – going by his back to back massive  rallies in Solan and Sundernagar & a few more to come could turn out to be the saviour  for the BJP in Himachal. 

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Aman Gupta
Aman Gupta
Political Editor, Samast Bharat magazine

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