Shimla, Dec 18: The counting of votes for Chamba assembly constituency will begin at 8 A.M on Monday. The state election commission will conduct counting of votes at Government Millennium Polytechnic in Sarol. The counting centre, located on the outskirts of the district, was kept under multiple layers of security to protect the EVMs for counting for Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress fielded their MLA candidates for Churah, Bharmour, Chamba, Dalhousie, Bhattiyat And Nurpur assembly constituencies.
To conduct the voting in a smooth manner, around 450 counting staff, including returning officers, supervisors and micro-observers has been deployed. This apart, the district administration has also deployed 350 security personnel to prevent any mishappening at the centre.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress had put all efforts to clinch victory in this politically crucial district. It contributes six assembly seats to Himachal Pradesh legislative assembly. While the saffron party has succeeded in winning four seats in the district, the Congress had to console itself with two seats in 2012 assembly elections. The district witnessed an enthusiastic participation from the electorate and registered 74 percent voting on the polling day.
Dalhousie Assembly Constituency
Apart from Chamba, neighbouring constituency Dalhousie saw an interesting battle between Congress and the BJP. The Congress relied on its heavyweight candidate Asha Kumari who had represented the seat five times in the assembly. BJP decided to field its district president D S Thakur.
Nurpur Assembly Constituency
Similarly, the grand old party will be under strains to retain Nurpur seat in its fold.Nurpur seat is being held by party MLA Ajay Mahajan who got 26546 votes in previous assembly elections. In 2012, Chauhan had defeated an Independent candidate Rakesh Pathania by. Pathania had secured 23179 votes.
Bharmour Assembly Constituency
Bharmour seat is held by Thakur Singh Bharmouri who is a candidate of Indian National Congress (INC). In 2012, Bharmouri had defeated Jia Lal of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by a very narrow margin. Bharmouri had secured 24751 votes to defeat Lal who had bagged 21284 votes.
Exit Polls favoured BJP
The exit polls, conducted after the polling day, had predicted a huge win for BJP. Times Now-VMR exit poll predicted tally of 51 seats for the BJP in Himachal Pradesh. Similarly, Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat survey gave the BJP 41 and the Congress 25 in Himachal Pradesh.
Apart from incumbency, the corruption charges of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh may cost the Congress dearly. The elections also pose a challenge to old guard Prem Kumar Dhumal who is looking to head the government in the hilly for next five years.