The electoral battle for the Shimla (Rural) assembly seat in Himachal Pradesh is between Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's son Vikramaditya Singh and BJP's Pramod Sharma.
Virbhadra Singh vacated Shimla (Rural) seat for his son Vikramaditya Singh and will be contesting from Arki seat in 2017 polls. Vikramaditya is now fighting against his father's former loyalist Pramod Sharma, who has a BJP ticket.
Sharma had sought votes in the name Virbhadra Singh several times in the past when he was active in Kumarsain.
Sharma is a creation of Virbhadra Singh who is said to have funded him to fight as an independent against Congress veteran Vidya Stokes in two previous elections.
Sharma, who was denied a Congress ticket from Theog in 2012, had contested as an independent and polled 4480 votes. The BJP candidate had polled 8,892 votes against 28,889 votes polled by Virbhadra Singh and he selected this constituency for his son in the hope that it was a safe seat.
Sharma has dubbed the election a contest between 'royalty and commoner', though he is avoiding attacking the chief minister or Vikramaditya. Sharma's campaign has picked up fast but BJP rebel Mohan Dass Sharma is also in the fray in the four-cornered contest, causing worry to the party.
The polling for all 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly began at 8 am on Thursday amid tight security arrangements. 337 candidates, including 19 women, are in the fray, with more than 50 lakh voters eligible to exercise their franchise.
OneIndia News with PTI inputs