Virbhadra, Dhumal sitting pretty in their strongholds

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Shimla, Dec 14 (UNI) The Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections are nothing more than a cakewalk for Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh from Rohru seat and BJP's chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal from Bamsan assembly constituency.

The result in both the constituencies is a foregone conclusion and it would only determine the margin of their victory.

While Mr Singh had been winning the election from Rohru constituency with massive margins since 1990, Mr Dhumal is entering the fray from Bamsan for the third time.

Mr Dhumal had won by a huge margin of over 18,000 in 1998 and over 15,000 in 2003.

The Chief Minister, on the other hand, contested and won his first state assembly elections in 1983 from Jubbal and Kotkhai constituency.

In 1990 assembly elections, he entered the fray from Rohru segment and Jubbal and Kotkhai assembly constituencies simultaneously.

However, he lost elections from Jubbal and Kotkhai to former chief minister Ram Lal Thakur, while winning the Rohru seat defeating his BJP rival by a record margin of 24,626 votes.

Mr Singh retained the seat in 1993 polls by a reduced margin of 19,946, but again increased his margin to 26,148 in 1998 assembly elections.

However, his margin of victory was reduced to 17,289 in 2003 and his rival increased his vote percentage to 31.93 per cent for the first time.

BJP candidate Khushi Ram Balnatah had been fighting a lone battle against the chief minister but he increased his votes everytime.

These assembly elections is last for both the candidates from Rohru as the constituency would be reserved for Scheduled Caste candidate next time after the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission.

BJP party sources said though Mr Balnatah wanted to contest elections from Shimla constituency, but the party directed him to contest elections from Rohru only.

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