As the election season heats up in Himachal Pradesh, political parties gear up for a high-stakes contest filled with seasoned leaders and fresh faces.

Shimla – Himachal Pradesh is buzzing with election fervour as the countdown to the polls begins, with only 11 days left. This time, the political landscape is more vibrant and dynamic, with parties fielding a mix of experienced leaders and new candidates across four Lok Sabha seats and six assembly seats.

Seasoned Leaders Enter New Arenas

Anand Sharma: Among the notable entries is Anand Sharma, the 71-year-old Congress candidate from Kangra. Despite his extensive political career, including multiple terms as a Rajya Sabha MP, Sharma is contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the first time. Sharma’s only previous electoral contest was an assembly election in Shimla back in 1982.

Dr. Rajeev Bhardwaj: On the BJP side, 58-year-old Dr. Rajeev Bhardwaj is also making his electoral debut in the Kangra parliamentary constituency. Though he has held various significant positions within the BJP and has a rich history in student politics, this is his first attempt at securing a seat in the Lok Sabha.

Battle of Experience vs. Fresh Face in Hamirpur

In the Hamirpur parliamentary constituency, BJP’s Anurag Thakur is a seasoned contender, aiming for his fifth consecutive victory. His opponent, Congress’s Satpal Raizada, an experienced MLA, is trying his luck in the Lok Sabha elections for the first time.

Bollywood Meets Politics in Mandi

The BJP has thrown a curveball by fielding Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut against Vikramaditya Singh in Mandi. With no prior political experience but a history of supporting the BJP through her statements, Ranaut’s entry adds a star-studded twist to the electoral race.

Vikramaditya Singh, a cabinet minister and two-time MLA, is another prominent figure making his Lok Sabha debut. At 34, Singh is contesting from the Mandi seat, a constituency with deep family connections, as his father late Virbhadra Singh and mother Pratibha Singh had won this Parliamentary six times since 1971.

Youthful Ambitions and Family Legacies

In the Shimla parliamentary constituency, 2022 assembly election winner Vinod Sultanpuri is now vying for a Lok Sabha seat on a Congress ticket. With a legacy of political involvement from his family, Sultanpuri faces the challenge of replicating his assembly’s success on a national level.

Assembly By-Elections: New Faces Take Center Stage

The assembly by-elections also showcase fresh candidates stepping into the political ring. In Dharamshala, the Congress has fielded Devendra Jaggi, a seasoned local politician but a first-time assembly election candidate, against BJP’s Sudhir Sharma.

Subhash Dhatwalia is the Congress candidate for Barsar, Hamirpur. Although he has been active in local politics, this election marks his debut in the assembly race. His competition is Indra Dutt Lakhanpal, a formidable opponent.

In Lahaul-Spiti, Congress has made a bold move by nominating Anuradha, the first woman candidate in 52 years from the region. Anuradha, currently the chairperson of the Zilla Parishad, is contesting against her political mentor Ravi Thakur and independent candidate Ram Lal Markanda.

In the Kutlehar assembly constituency, both the BJP and Congress are vying to reclaim their prestige. BJP candidate Devinder Kumar Bhutto, who won the 2022 assembly election on a Congress ticket but recently defected to the BJP, is now at the center of the by-election triggered by his defection. Bhutto must demonstrate his enduring popularity and restore his reputation. On the other hand, the Congress has fielded Vivek Kumar to regain the seat. This by-election is a significant test for the BJP, as it must prove its strength following the defection that necessitated the election in the first place.

A Mixed Bag of Experience and Fresh Energy

Himachal Pradesh’s upcoming elections promise a riveting mix of political veterans and newcomers. As these candidates from diverse backgrounds and varying levels of experience vie for electoral success, the results will shape the state’s politics for years to come. The battle is not just for seats but for the pride and legacy of the leaders and their parties.