With election campaign for 68 Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh coming to an end today evening both the ruling Congress and the BJP are making claim and counter claim of getting majority to form next government in the state, it seems an uphill task for both the parties to achieve magical number of 34 seats in the House of 68.
Highly politically conscious voters of Himachal Pradesh have left the leaders guessing and also political analysts confused as voters have maintained a stoic silence on the issues thrown in the election by both the Congress and the BJP leaders.
The state BJP leaders, who are forecasting complete rout of the ruling Congress in the Assembly election, taking a cue from prevailing trend of change of guard after every five years in this highly polarized state, have put in all might of the Central government and Prime Minister Narender Modi, battery of Union Ministers and Chief Minister of UP, MP, Uttrakhand etc in the campaign to regain power.
The Congress charge was led by one- man- army of octogenarian Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, besides rallies at the fag- end of the campaign by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and few other Congress leaders.
Interestingly, the BJP leaders, who were so confident of their victory in Himachal Pradesh a few month back have put in all their resources and even declared former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal as their Chief Ministerial candidate, midway during the campaign, against the past practice of BJP, not doing so in the Assembly elections held in UP, Maharashtra and Haryana.
On the other hand the ruling Congress, facing anti- incumbency in the state was on back- foot due to court cases and allegations against Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his family members, rift between CM Virbhadra Singh and HPCC president Sukhvinder Singh ‘Sukhu’ and desertion of Congress stalwart Sukh Ram and Anil Sharma, cabinet minister in present Congress government to BJP, has made a remarkable comeback with shrewd stewardship and mass base of Virbhadra Singh, in the election.
The BJP leadership riding high on the wave of anti-incumbency is now feeling concerned with Modi wave getting somewhat diluted after implementation of GST, since majority traders (vocal supporters of the party) have expressed resentment on its implementation, price rise and rising unemployment etc.
The absence of major issue among the voters is leading to find their own reasons to vote in this election and choice of their MLA.
Unless, there is any undercurrent, which has been difficult to assess so far in this situation, the BJP and Congress looks equally poised in the HP Assembly election.