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Himachal

Posted at: May 19, 2019, 8:07 AM; last updated: May 19, 2019, 9:11 AM (IST)

Solan to play decisive role

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 18

A grim electoral battle is raging in Shimla which is no longer a Congress bastion. There are six candidates in the fray but it is virtually a straight contest between traditional rivals, the BJP and Congress.

Old issues like hike in import duty on apple, tribal status for the trans-Giri area in Sirmaur, legalising poppy cultivation and removal of encroachments on the forest land have come alive to haunt the political parties. The Congress is better placed in Shimla while the BJP has an edge in Sirmaur and with Solan district expected to play a decisive role.

The BJP is making all-out efforts to score a hat-trick despite the fact that it has denied ticket to two-time MP Varinder Kashyap and fielded Suresh Kashyap, sitting MLA from Pachhad, and the Congress has also fielded Col Dhani Ram Shandil, two-time MP and sitting MLA from Solan.

Shandil, banking on his honest image, is claiming that there is no Modi wave this time and ground realities are different as every section of society is unhappy with the government and raking issues of unemployment and development of tourism in the constituency and connecting Paonta-Doon area with rail link.

Kashyap is banking on the projects given by the Union government like IIM, medical college, nine national highways and other schemes for the poor and is confident that people will vote for the BJP to make Modi PM again.

Modi and BJP president Amit Shah addressed rallies in Solan and Nahan while AICC president wound up the campaign by addressing a rally at Solan. This time, no senior leader of main parties addressed any rally in Shimla while the rally of Priyanka Gandhi at Theog was cancelled due to security reasons.

In last-ditched efforts, leaders go door to door

Political functionaries of both Congress and BJP today started door-to-door campaigning to woo voters. With campaigning coming to an end last evening, both want to make the most of the leftover time.

Major urban areas like Solan, Baddi, Nalagarh, Kasauli and Arki have remained the focus of the campaigning with political functionaries making last-ditch efforts to muster support in their favour. Senior leaders were seen leading it.

Since Congress candidate DR Shandil hails from Solan, the party is hopeful of getting a large number of votes from this segment. Their campaign has received a major boost from the rally of their national president Rahul Gandhi held here yesterday though a proposed roadshow of Priyanka Gandhi had failed to take place. BJP candidate Suresh Kashyap is hopeful of obtaining a major lead from Sirmaur district and, apart from the rally of party national president. — Ambika Sharma

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