THE elections to the Himachal Pradesh state assembly may be announced any day and are expected to be in the second week of November 2017. The CPI(M) well in advance, has released its list of candidates who have even started the campaign in their respective constituencies. The Party is contesting in 13 seats that include four in Shimla , three in Mandi, two in Hamirpur and one each in Kullu, Solan, Sirmour and Lahaul and Spiti districts.
The CPI(M) earlier had won two seats in Mandi and another in Shimla. In Balh valley, the old base of the Left, the movement for land reforms had paved way for the electoral success whereas in Shimla, it was the growth of student movement after the 1980s, along with the uprising of the peasants – especially the apple growers in which three farmers were killed by the then BJP government.
Since 1992, the concentration for elections has mainly been in Shimla, which made the contest triangular. The strength of the Party used to be pooled for Shimla.
In the meanwhile, some interventions have been made in the working-class sectors like hydro power generation, electricity workers, anganwadi workers and similarly amongst the peasantry there has been some intervention and movement building on the issues of menace of wild animals, issues of land rights, against encroachment on forest land and resistance provided to eviction etc, which has spread the base of the Party to newer areas as well.
The present situation now happens to be that the CPI(M) will make the contest a triangular one, not only in Shimla assembly segment, but in over seven assembly constituencies.
These include: 1. Shimla Urban - Sanjay Chauhan, 2. Theog –Kumarsain - Rakesh Singha, 3. Kusumpti - Kuldeep Singh Tanwar, all in Shimla district, 4. Anni (Kullu) - Lokender, 5. Jogendernagar - Kushal Bhardwaj, 6. Dharampur - Bhupender Singh, 7. Sarkaghat - Manish Sharma from Mandi district. There are other important constituencies as well where the Party has systematically planned and built the election campaign and these include: 1. Hamirpur - Anil Mankotia, 2. Sujanpur - Jogender Sharma - both from Hamirpur district, 3. Nahan ( irmour district) - Vishwanth.
The other constituencies where the Party will contest include 1. Solan - Ajay Bhatti from Solan district, 2. Rampur - Vivek Kashyap from Shimla district and 3. Lahaul and Spiti (tribal ) - Sunil Jaspa.