BJP to start new HP innings... but loses CM face's wicket
Shimla/ Dharamsala: The BJP wrested power from the Congress in Himachal Pradesh with a close to two-thirds majority on Monday. The victory in the Himalayan state tightened the BJP's grip over the country's politics with the Congress losing one more state with general elections only 18 months away.
Amid the victories, there was some disappointment for the BJP — Prem Kumar Dhumal, the party's chief ministerial candidate in the hill state, lost to Congress' Rajinder Rana in Sujanpur, after he changed his traditional constituency of Hamirpur. He was made the CM face only nine days before the polling.
Regaining power in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP bagged 44 seats, falling short of a two-thirds majority by two seats in the 68-member house. The BJP, which had won 26 seats in 2012, recorded a 10 per cent jump in vote share that touched 48.7 per cent.
The Congress bagged 20 seats and was leading in one. The ruling party had 36 seats earlier, and its vote share declined by 1 percentage point to 41.8 per cent. The CPI-M and an independent bagged one each. An independent was also leading in one seat.
Congress veteran and six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh won the Arki constituency with a margin of 6,024 votes against the BJP's Rattan Singh Pal. Virbhadra's son, Vikramaditya Singh, also won in his maiden attempt from the Shimla rural constituency, which was earlier represented by the outgoing chief minister. The BJP's Inder Singh Gandhi defeated Congress cabinet minister Prakash Chaudhary in the Balh constituency.
Seniormost minister Kaul Singh of the Congress lost the polls from Drang and his daughter Champa Thakur suffered defeat at the hands of the BJP's Anil Sharma in Mandi. State BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti lost to Satpal Singh Raizada of the Congress from the Una constituency seat.
In Dharmshala constituency, Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma was defeated by ex-BJP minister Kishan Kapoor with a margin of 2,820 votes.
In Bharmour constituency, Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri lost to Jia Lal of the BJP by 6,873 votes.