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Posted at: Nov 5, 2017, 2:02 AM; last updated: Nov 5, 2017, 2:02 AM (IST)HIMACHAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS — 1952-2012

Polls in HP: Then and now

After giving a sweeping mandate to the founder, Dr YS Parmar, in the last few decades, the electorate in HP has rarely elected one party consecutively. The two stalwarts of HP politics are facing each other once again. With the national political scene so strongly showing its presence in the state, which way will the wind blow, only time will tell. We present HP elections as published in the columns of The Tribune
Polls in HP: Then and now
Chronicles of a poll retold: Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh cast their votes at a polling station at the Central School premises in Shimla

Chandigarh, November 5

The far-flung areas of Pangi and Chini in the hill region of what was not yet Himachal Pradesh had the distinction of being the first to exercise their votes in free India’s first free elections, held in October 1951. An area culled from Punjab and an amalgamation of independent hill States, Himachal Pradesh was then a Chief Commissioner’s Province.

On March 24, 1952, the first session of the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly was held in Rashtrapati Niwas, formerly Viceregal Lodge, Shimla, and the old arrangement was given a burial, with the Chief Commissioner being replaced by Lt. Governor, Major-General Kumar Shri Himmatsinhji.

Himachal Pradesh became a union territory on November 1, 1956. Kangra and several other hill areas of Punjab were merged with Himachal exactly a decade later. Following a long struggle, the UT got its full status on January 25, 1971, when Himachal Pradesh became the 18th state of India.

Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar of the Congress was the first Chief Minister of the state and he led it till 1977. The first post-Emergency election brought about a sea change in the political fortunes of the Congress in the country, and Himachal Pradesh was no exception. Janata Party opened its account in Himachal Pradesh and Shanta Kumar became the Chief Minister.

Congress leader Virbhadra Singh led his party to victory in the next Assembly poll, in 1982, and became Chief Minister. He then led the state for two consecutive terms.

However, thereafter, the picture is not all that clear. Both Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have registered victories, often one after the other.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh led his party to victory in the last election, withstanding the Modi wave that decimated the Congress-led UPA nationwide. He has been Chief Minister of the state for a record six times.

The state has 68 constituencies. The fate of the political fortunes of the incumbent and the challengers lies in their hands.

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