Kanwar Yogendra

SHIMLA: The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has never won the Shimla (reserved) parliamentary seat, is all set to create a history here this time. The party, supported by the incumbent government, is involved in a vigorous campaign while the Congress campaign is lacklustre with party bigwigs missing from the battle. The fight here is between Virender Kashyap (BJP), who is yet to taste a victory even after fighting ten-odd elections, and two-time MP Col. (retd.) Dhani Ram Shandil of the Congress.

The Shimla Lok Sabha constituency represents the Assembly segments of Shimla, Sirmaur and Solan districts except the Rampur area which falls in the Mandi constituency. Traditionally a Congress stronghold, the party had lost just twice in 1977 and 1999. In 1999, the Himachal Vikas Congress, an alliance partner of the BJP, had won the seat. Congress leader Krishan Dutt Sultanpuri had won the seat seven times. Even during the BJP wave in 2007, the Congress had managed to win nine seats out of 17 Assembly segments from the constituency.

The trends from last four Lok Sabha elections indicate that the electorates here have preferred to vote for the party in power.

The huge crowds at the rallies of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and thin attendance during Congress meetings also point to the fact that the Congress is on a sticky wicket here.