More than 5.5 million voters will decide the fate of 412 candidates in the fray for 68 assembly constituencies in Himachal Pradesh, where polling will be held in a single phase today.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have fielded candidates in all 68 seats, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is contesting 67 seats and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) 53. Communist Party of India (Marxist) is contesting 11 seats. A total of 99 independent candidates are also in the poll fray.
In the previous state elections in 2017, the BJP won 44 seats, Congress 21, two were independents while one seat was won by CPI(M).
There are only 24 women candidates in the fray this time, against 19 in 2017 and 34 in the 2012 assembly polls.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has led the campaign for ruling BJP from the front and the Hindutva party is hoping to retain power.
The election is a matter for survival for the Congress, which has been on a downhill electorally since the last two polls. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday said if his party forms government in Himachal Pradesh, a decision would be taken on providing one lakh jobs and return of the old pension scheme in the first cabinet meeting.
The poll panel has set up 7,881 polling stations across state.