No straight contest in Himachal assembly polls this time

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Shimla, Dec 6 (UNI) For the first time in Himachal Pradesh, there will be no straight contest in any of the 65 assembly seats where elections are to be held in the second phase on December 19.

In all, there are 324 candidates in the fray for 65 non-tribal assembly seats this time as against 408 in the last assembly elections in 2003.

Of these, 10 constituencies would witness a keen triangular contest between the two main traditional parties of the Congress, the BJP and either BSP or independents, while 19 constituencies would have four-cornered contest.

There are five contestants in 14 seats, six in 12 seats, seven in five seats and eight contenders in four seats.

Arki assembly constituency in Solan district has the highest number of nine candidates.

While the BJP and the BSP have fielded candidates in all 65 seats, the Congress is in fray in 64 seats following the last minute cancellation of its party candidate from Gangath (reserved) seat.

The Lok Janshakti party (LJP) and Samajwadi Party have fielded 39 and ten candidates respectively, while 61 independents are also in the field.

The CPI is contesting nine seats and CPM has fielded candidates in seven seats, including the prestigious Shimla seat, which the party won in 1993 assembly elections.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and BJP's chief ministerial candidate P K Dhumal are locked in four cornered contest in Rohru and Bamsan constituencies respectively.

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