194 nonagenarians to cast vote in Himachal bypolls

Shimla: More than 190 nonagenarians are eligible to vote in the Himachal Pradesh assembly bypolls slated for Nov 30, an official said here Monday.

As many as 194 electors aged 90 or more will exercise their franchise in the Nalagarh and Renuka constituencies, Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan said in a statement.

He said the Nalagarh constituency of Solan district has 112 nonagenarian electors, while the remaining are in the Renuka assembly in Sirmaur district.

The by elections have been necessitated by the death of legislators H.N. Saini (Nalagarh) and Prem Singh (Renuka).

The main contest is between the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In the 2007 assembly elections, the Congress had won the Renuka (reserved) seat, while the BJP got the Nalagarh seat.

The Congress has fielded Prem Singh’s son Vinay Kumar from Renuka against BJP’s Hirday Ram.

From Nalagarh BJP’s candidate is Gurnam Kaur, wife of the late Saini, while Lakhwinder Rana is the Congress nominee.

Except Rana, the other candidates are political greenhorns.

For the BJP which is going to complete four years in power next month, the stakes are high in the bypolls, especially in Renuka, which has traditionally been a Congress bastion.

Political observers said the election outcome would be an indication of the popularity of the BJP ahead of the 2012 assembly elections.

The counting of votes will be held Dec 4.

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