In an online poll being conducted by Himachal based citizen journalism website, HImVani, BJP stalwart Shanta Kumar is emerging as the preferred next Chief Minister for the state.
The poll has been online for more than four months now. Out of 135 votes, Shanta Kumar has got almost 45 per cent votes (62 votes). The next preference is Congress’ current Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh getting 30 votes. Prem Kumar Dhumal is close behind with 26 votes. Vidya Stokes, who was a strong contender for the position last time lies low on online voters preference, garnering a mere 12 votes. Well there are five votes for Vijay Singh Mankotia as well.
We’d though like to clarify that the voting cannot be fool-proof. HimVani uses IP logging for its online poll that prevents people from “stuffing the ballot box”, or voting more than once. HimVani uses both cookies and IP logging to prevent users from cheating. IP logging does have a downside too: some people share IPs (corporate offices, for example). Voting twice by the same user though can be done from two separate machines that have separate IP addresses.
While Shanta Kumar has been the Chief Minister twice, he’s never completed the full five-year term. The only BJP Chief Minister to complete a five-year term is Prem Kumar Dhumal. However, it’s the youth, who feel that Shanta Kumar should be the next Chief Minister. When asked through emails, the popular sentiment across many of the responders was that Shanta Kumar had always been ahead of his times whether being as the Chief Minister of the state or the Civil Supplies Union Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. They felt that he was forward looking and his policies too were ahead of the times, which did not go well down with the general public. However, in the changed scenario, he would be the right candidate for the Chief Minister’s post. Also they felt that his stubbornness could go against him again.
HimVani had conducted a similar poll in early March, asking: If Congress would get a second chance? Out of 206 responders, 135 said ‘No’, 56 said ‘Yes’, while 15 felt that “it was too early to say.” Though the result was not directly in favour of BJP, but considering that Himachal Pradesh has by default followed a dual party system, the general sentiment was in favour of the BJP. It is also important to note that at that point of time, BSP had not made its intentions of contesting elections in the state very clear.
But now with BSP deciding to field candidates in all the constituencies, it will further play spoil-sport for the Congress, cutting into its minority vote bank. Religion though has played meagre part in state politics, BJP has always come into power only on the anti-incumbency factor and not because of its religious ideologies.
We’d also like to clarify that the result may not necessarily be the sentiment of people across Himachal. Considering that internet penetration is low in Himachal, the voters mostly could be Himachalis living outside the state. The ground realities could be different altogether and as campaigning begins, sentiments could fluctuate. But another important thing is that a Himachali has always been a “silent voter”. The voter has proved many a psephologists wrong many a times. They may say something to the surveyors and ultimately do their own when it comes to putting their mark on the ballot paper.
However, if you’d like to show your preference towards a particular leader, go to HimVani, and mark your vote. You though won’t be able to vote twice, unless you use another machine with a different IP address.
With political happenings hotting up in the state, we’d keep you posted on the developments. So watch out for this pace.