Stage set for Himachal election results

Shimla (Himacahl Pradesh) [India], December 18 : Himachal Pradesh that voted for its next government in November will today get to know who won the Assembly election race. The counting for the single phase Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections will begin at 8 a.m. and results are expected to come out by afternoon. As many as 50,25,941 voters were eligible to cast their votes and 37,605 polling personnel were deployed at 7,525 polling booths. 983 polling stations had been declared vulnerable and 399 as critical to ensure free and fair elections in the state. Congress leader and six-time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is fighting against former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal to be the next head of the state. A total of 337 candidates, including 19 women, are in fray to sweep the polls in the hilly state. Virbhadra Singh and Dhumal were among the 62 sitting MLAs who contested the polls. Polling for 68 seats of Himachal Pradesh, which was held on November 9 in a single phase to choose the next chief minister, recorded 74.61 per cent voter turnout, the highest-ever in the state. However, the exit polls had suggested a change of political guard in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state. The Congress party is currently in power in the state and the BJP is aiming to return to power after a gap of five years. In 2012, the Congress party defeated the BJP and won an outright majority by winning 36 of the 68 seats under the leadership of Virbhadra Singh thus proving most of the pollsters and exit polls wrong, which had predicted a photo-finish. (ANI)
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