BJP Fires All Guns, Congress Campaign Remained Lack Lustre
Shimla: The loud speakers have gone silent and the voter has been given a breather to decide about his franchise.
With the election campaign have come to a close, it was a clear victory for BJP who not deployed a battery of national leaders but were more organised and did manage to hold out even in cold weather.
On the other hand the Congress election campaign remained lack luster and only got a boost when party President Sonia Gandhi and the newly appointed general secretary Rahaul Gandhi hit the hill campaign trail at the fag end of electioneering.
On the last day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also pitched in his bit by holding two election addresses at Bilaspur and Palampur.
While congress focused its campaign on Modi and Gujarat, BJP deployed senior leader LK Advani, party president Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Shatrughan Sinha, Hema Malini, Navjot Sidhu, Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal and Satyapal Jain on campaign duty in Himahcal.
With choppers crisscrossing the state, each leader would address three to four gatherings in a given day.
Besides the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi other congressmen who campaigned included Anand Sharma and second rung leaders like Satyapal Maharaj and Rajinder Bhattal.
Among the state leaders, the sitting chief minister Virbhadra Singh and the aspiring chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal displayed their popularity among their people by not campaigning in their respective constituencies Rohru and Bamsan after filing their nominations papers, a fortnight ago.
Not supported by the central leadership, Virbhadra Singh conducted the congress campaign near single handedly, holding public meetings and roadside shows from morning to late night.
The issues that predominated in the campaign revolved around development, corruption, jobs, price rise, with both BJP and Congress making allegations and counter allegations.
Attempting to eek out political space, BSP put up candidates in almost all 68 constituencies but the campaign did not take off and candidates expressed shortage of funds and election material during electioneering.
The BSP election campaign was spearheaded by UP chief minister and party president, Mayawati and Vijay Singh Mankotia, the declared chief ministerial candidate for the state by the party. However, on the last day of campaign one BSP district president resigned, leveling money laundering charges against his own party men.
The CPI (M) has seven candidates in the fray and had party general secretary Prakash Karat and parliamentarian Sitaram Yechury campaign for their Shimla candidate.
Though the Lok Janshakti Party (LPJ) headed by union minister Ram Vilas Paswan is an UPA ally in Delhi, but in Himachal it choose to make a lonely burrow by going in alone. The party has put up 38 candidates and even has a sitting member in the outgoing house.
The LPJ election meetings were thinly attended with Paswan having to call of one meeting at Bilaspur on Monday, as there no audience worth talking to.
Not to be left behind, many independents used personal rapport and money power to woo voters and have given reputed political parties a run for their money. However, one independent in Bilaspur constituency, short of both manpower and money, was seen campaigning alone on a motorcycle.