The ruling BJP is leading in 20 seats and the Congress in 13 while Independent candidates are ahead on two seats in Himachal Pradesh, according to the Election Commission.
Candidates who are leading include Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur from Seraj, BJP’s Puran Chand from Darang, Chetan Bragata, son of former minister Narender Bragata, from Jubbal Kotkhai, Anil Sharma, son of former Union minister Sukhram, from Mandi Sadar and Congress’ Jagat Singh Negi, a former deputy speaker, from Kinnaur. However, according to TV channel reports, the Congress is leading in 37 seats and BJP in 31. Chief Minister Thakur and Himachal Pradesh Congress president Pratibha Singh have maintained that their parties would get full majority with over 40 out of the 68 seats. Congress general Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is also at her home in Chhabra keeping an eye on the latest trends.
Counting of votes for the 68-member assembly began at 8 am where the ruling BJP is hoping to retain power. The results of the elections will also reveal whether the BJP’s all-out personalised campaign led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to buck the ‘alternative government’ trend has worked or not.
For the opposition Congress, however, a victory in Himachal is much-needed for its revival, as it has seen a spate of electoral losses in the last few years.
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Himachal Pradesh has not returned any incumbent government to power in the last nearly four decades.
About 76.44 per cent of voters had exercised their franchise in the assembly polls held on November 12. A total of 412 candidates including 24 women and 99 independents are in fray.