Himachal Pradesh Assembly election results — counting ends as BJP seals majority with 44 seats

In Shimla, it was a chance for jubilant BJP supporters to let their hair down   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

Himachal Pradesh continued its tradition of change in government after every elections and this time it is the turn of the BJP.

Counting ended in 48 centres for 68 seats of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly, almost 40 days after voting. Exit polls have favoured the BJP to win with a comfortable majority.

A total of 377 candidates contested for 68 seats. While the BJP and Congress fielded candidates in all seats, the BSP contested in 42 seats and the CPI(M) in 14. The Swabhiman party and the Lok Gathbandhan Party contested six each and the CPI in 3.

The hill State witnessed a record 75.28% turnout.

All data are from the Election Commission of India.

 

Updates:

11.30 p.m.

BJP seals victory winning 44 seats, whereas Congress had to settle with 21 seats. Two seats are claimed by Independent candidates and one seat secured by CPI(M).

11.00 p.m

 

It's a victory for the independent candidate Prakash Rana in Jogindernagar, as he beats the BJP's Gulab Singh Thakur by 6635 votes. For the Sujanpur seat, Prem Kumar Dhumal has lost by 1911 votes. 

10.20 p.m

 

It's past ten and according to the Election Commission of India website, counting is still on in two constituencies - Jogindernagar and Sujanpur. In Jogindernagar, Prakash Rana, an independent candidate is leading by over 7300 votes against the BJP's Gulab Singh Thakur.

 

However, in Sujanpur, Prem Kumar Dhumal, the BJP's chief ministerial pick, had conceded defeat in the evening to Congress' Rajinder Rana. Mr Rana is leading by 2536 votes as of now. Somehow this hasn't reached its conclusion late into the evening. The final results are already out in Gujarat.  

8.00 p.m

 

The BJP Parliamentary board has decided that Arun Jaitley and Saroj Pandey will go as observers to Gujarat. Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar will go to Himachal Pradesh.

7.45 p.m

 

The BJP has passed the halfway mark in Himachal with 36 seats out of 68. The Congress is second with 19.

6.00 p.m.

 

Like dad, like son. Vikramaditya Singh, son of current Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh, has won the Shimla Rural seat. This result was declared shortly after Mr Virbhadra claimed the Arki seat. Mr Vikramaditya defeated BJP candidate Dr Pramod Sharma by a margin of 4880 votes. In fact, Mr Virbhadra claimed Shimla Rural in 2012. Singh when you're winning.

5.45 p.m.

 

Virbhadra Singh, the incumbent Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, has won his Assembly seat in Arki. He has defeated his BJP candidate Rattan Singh Pal by a margin of 6051 votes. In 2012, BJP's Govind Ram Sharma was the winner. This is better news for Mr. Virbhadra as earlier in the day, many of ministers in his Council lost their seats.

5.30 p.m

 

Prem Kumar Dhumal, the BJP's main man in Himachal Pradesh, has accepted defeat in the Sujanpur assembly seat. His Congress rival Rajinder Rana is leading by over 2900 votes. He said the result was unexpected but he accepted defeat.

BJP workers celebrate in Shimla the party’s victory in the Himachal Pardesh Assembly elections on December 18, 2017.

BJP workers celebrate in Shimla the party’s victory in the Himachal Pardesh Assembly elections on December 18, 2017.   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

 

Mr Dhumal served as the State's CM from March 1998 to March 2003 and again from January 2008 to December 2012.

4.35 p.m.

 

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has commended his party for the way they have fought in these elections.

 

4.15 p.m.


In Kasauli
, BJP's sitting MLA Rajiv Saizal won by 442 votes over Congress' Vinod Sultanpuri. This is, in fact, a better result for Mr. Saizal — in 2012, he had won by a margin of just 24 votes over the same opponent.

In Dehra, an Independent candidate Hoshiyar Singh has won by 3914 over BJP incumbent Ravinder Singh Ravi. Mr. Ravi had won by a whopping 15,293 in 2012. Mr. Singh is, incidentally, one of the two independent candidates who were leading in the current election.

4 p.m.


It seems the BJP’s celebrations in Himachal would be incomplete. The party's two top leaders — CM candidate  Mr. Dhumal and State chief Satpal Singh Satti — have lost, leaving the head-hunting a bumpy affair. As irony would have it, party chief Amit Shah’s congratulatory tweet includes these two leaders.

3.50 p.m.


Party position at 3.47 p.m.

PartyWonLeadingTotal
BJP113344
Congress71421
CPI(M)101
Independents022

Total seats: 68

3.40 p.m.

I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal: Modi

“Election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh indicate a strong support for politics of good governance and development. I salute the hardworking BJP Karyakartas in these states for their hardwork which has led to these impressive victories,” Mr. Modi tweets. “I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly.

“हिमाचल प्रदेश में लहराया कमल, विकास की हुई भव्य जीत।”

Party chief Amit Shah too has tweeted on the BJP’s spectacular win in Himachal. Himachal and Gujarat win means Mr. Modi’s development agenda has won against casteism, dynasty and appeasement, says Mr. Shah.

 

 

3.20 p.m.


BJP has won eight seats and leads in 37 more, while the Congress has won in four and leads in 15 more. Independents continue to lead in three seats.

In Amreli, Paresh Dhanani of the Congress retained his seat but with a reduced margin. In 2012, Mr. Dhanani won by a margin of 29,893 votes. This elections he won by 12029 votes.     

In Sujanpur, Mr. Dhumal is still trailing and the margin has increased to nearly 3,000 votes.

3.15 p.m.

 

Many Ministers bite the dust

Many members of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's Council of Ministers have lost their seats this election. Mr. Singh is leading in the Arki constituency. The Congress leader got just over 28,000 votes, as against the BJP's Rattan Singh Pal who won over 23,000 votes.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Kaul Singh Thakur lost his seat in Darang to the BJP candidate Jawahar Thakur by a margin of around 2,000 votes. Arun Kumar of the BJP is leading against G.S. Bali, the Food and Civil Supplies Minister.

An independent, Baldev Thakur has wrested the reins from Power Minister Sujan Singh Pathania in Fatehpur, pushing him to third position. The BJP candidate Kripal Singh Parmar is trailing in second place.

Jia Lal, the BJP candidate from Bharmour is leading against Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri with 25,456 votes.

Mukesh Agnihotri of the Congress, and also the Industry Minister is leading in Haroli with 28,202 votes to his name.

The BJP has won in Dharamshala with its candidate Kishan Kapoor beating Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma.

Excise Minister Prakash Chaudhary lost to Inder Singh of the BJP in the Balh constituency with by a margin of more than 10,000 votes.

2.50 p.m.

BJP has won five seats and leads in 39 more, while the Congress has won in two and leads in 18 more. The CPI(M) has won one seat and independents are leading in three.

2.30 p.m.


In Solan, the Congress candidate and sitting Minister Dhani Ram Shandil is leading by a mere four votes. Mr. Shandil, as of now, has 23,433 votes, while the BJP candidate Rajesh Kashyap has 23,429 votes.

2.20 p.m.

 

There were 19 women candidates (6% of all candidates) in this elections. BJP has fielded six women and three among them three are leading in Bhoranj, Indora, Shahpur. Congress has fielded three and one of them is leading.

 

2.05 p.m.

 

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami calls Mr. Modi over phone and extends his greetings over the BJP’s victory in the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

 

1.40 p.m.

 

Trends/wins available for all 68 seats as of 1.32 p.m..: BJP 44, Congress 20, independents 3 and CPI(M) 1. Six results have been declared so far with BJP taking 3, Congress 2 and the CPI(M) 1. The lone CPI(M) seat is won by the party's State Secretary Rakesh Singha by a margin of 1,983 votes over his nearest rival,  BJP’s Rakesh Verma. Mr. Singha is one of the most prominent faces of the party in Himachal Pradesh. He had in 1993 won the election from the Shimla seat and had secured around 10,000 votes while contesting from the Theog seat in the 2012 Assembly election. This is the second time he will be a member in the 68-seat HP Assembly.

The CPI(M) dedicated its victory to the people of the constituency who “reposed faith in the party to protect their rights and work for their interest” in the State Assembly. In a statement, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said the victory of its candidate Rakesh Singha was significant as it came against the background of a highly polarised election between two major parties. “This victory reflects the faith the people of Theog have reposed in the CPI(M) to protect their rights and work for their interests in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly,” the party said.

1 p.m.

In reserved constituencies, the BJP is showing a clear lead. In two of the three ST constituencies, BJP is leading with a considerable margin.

In a whopping 12 of the 17 constituencies set aside for SC candidates, the BJP is leading with notable lead in vote share. In Balh, the BJP's Inder Singh is leading with 10,452 votes against Congress' incumbent Prakash Chaudhary. Meanwhile, in Kasauli, Congress is leading with a narrow margin over BJP, whose  Rajiv Saizal had won in the 2012 election by just 24 votes.

While BJP has succeeded in converting many Congress strongholds this time with a considerable vote share, India's oldest political party has done a poor job of retaining even its existing seats.

12.50 p.m.

 

In Mandi, Anil Sharma of the BJP is leading by more than 9,000 votes.  Mandi shot to the limelight as the BJP has fielded Mr. Sharma, son of the former Union Minister Sukh Ram, after he defected from the Congress. Mr. Sharma, the Rural Development Minister in the Virbhadra Singh government, was locked in a keen contest with Congress nominee Champa Thakur, daughter of State Health Minister and party stalwart Kaul Singh Thakur. Sukh Ram was convicted by a trial court in 2002 for defrauding the state exchequer through a corrupt deed involving award of a telecom equipment supply contract to a company, which had supplied inferior goods at a higher rate to the DoT.

 

12.10 p.m.

 

Two more results have been declared. In Anni seat, Kishori Lal of the BJP defeated Paras Ram of Congress by 5,983 votes. In Shimla, Suresh Bhardwaj of the BJP defeated independent candidate, Harish Janartha, by 1,903 votes.

 

11.55 a.m.

 

Trends/wins available for all 68 seats as of 11.52 a.m.: BJP 41, Congress 22, independents 4 and CPI(M) 1. Results are yet to be declared save the lone seat of Kasumpti, which the Congress retained. In Sujanpur, Congress nominee Rajinder Rana is forging ahead against BJP CM candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has increased his lead to nearly 4,000 votes in Arki. Mr. Singh’s son Vikramaditya is leading in Shimla Rural by more than 2,500 votes.

11.30 a.m.

 

Modi flashes victory sign

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flashes the victory sign as he arrives in Parliament on December 18, 2017.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flashes the victory sign as he arrives in Parliament on December 18, 2017.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today flashed a victory sign after he arrived in Parliament, as the BJP pulled ahead of the Congress in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

 

11.15 a.m.

 

First result declared, Congress retains Kasumpti

In Kasauli, INC's Vinod Sultanpuri is leading by over 1000 votes to BJP's sitting MLA Rajiv Saizal. Mr. Saizal had won by a margin of just 24 votes in 2012 elections.  Meanwhile, in Dehra, an independent Hoshyar Singh is leading by over 7000 votes over BJP's Ravinder Singh, who had won by over 15,000 votes in 2012.

People gather at Mall Road near Scandal Point to watch poll results on a giant screen, in Shimla on December 18, 2017.

People gather at Mall Road near Scandal Point to watch poll results on a giant screen, in Shimla on December 18, 2017.   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

 

Meanwhile, the first win has been declared in Kasumpti for Congress's Anirudh Singh. He won by a margin of 9,397 votes against BJP's Vijay Jyoti.

11.10 a.m.

‘Approval for Modi govt. policies’

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh says polls results were an approval of the Narendra Modi government’s policies, asserting that the BJP will form government in both Gujarat and Himachal with big majority.

 

10.45 a.m.

 

Trends available for 62 seats as of 10.42 a.m.: BJP 37, Congress 21, independents 2 and CPI(M) 1. BJP’s CM candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal has failed to reverse the trend with his trailing margin has gone up to more than 1,600 votes at Sujanpur. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has increased his lead nearly 2,000 votes in Arki. Mr. Singh’s son Vikramaditya is leading in Shimla Rural by more than 1,500 votes.

 

10.20 a.m.

 

Trends available for 60 out of 68 seats as of 10.17 a.m.: BJP 36, Congress 21, independents 2 and CPI(M) 1. According to the poll panel site, BJP’s CM candidate is now trailing at Sujanpur by more than 1000 votes. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is leading by a margin of nearly 1000 votes in Arki. Mr. Singh’s son Vikramaditya is leading in Shimla Rural.

10.10 a.m.

Stocks go into a tailspin

Stocks went into a tailspin right at the start after early trends suggested that the BJP and the Congress are locked in a tight race to win Gujarat.

The benchmark BSE Sensex tanked as much as 867 points to breach below the psychological 33,000-mark while the NSE Nifty plunged 258 points in the opening session within one hour of counting of votes for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

The 30-share index crashed by 867.34 points, or 2.59%, to 32,595.63, with all sectoral indices led by realty, IT, teck, power and and banking trading in the negative zone with losses of up to 1.74%.

10 a.m.

Trends available for 57 seats as of 9.57 a.m.: BJP 33, Congress 21, independents 2 and CPI(M) 1. According to the poll panel site, BJP’s CM candidate is still trailing at Sujanpur. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is leading by a slender margin of about 600 votes in Arki.

 

9.30 a.m.

In Balh, BJP's Inder Singh is leading by 2,263 votes while INC's incumbent Prakash Chaudhary is trailing. In Kullu, incumbent Maheshwar Singh, who is contesting as a BJP candidate this year is trailing to INC's Sunder Singh Thakur.  In Sujanpur, BJP's CM candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal is trailing by 540 to INC's incumbent Rajender Rana. Mr. Rana had won the 2012 polls with a big margin of over 14,000 votes as an Independent before switching over to Congress.

BJP State president Satpal Satti and Congress Minister Kaul Singh Thakur are trailing.

9.10 a.m.

BJP takes lead in two seats. The party's candidates are leading in Anni and Hamirpur seats.

Congress has taken lead in Kasumpti, Kinnaur, Kullu and Solan. BJP in Anni, Hamirpur and Nachan.

Congress takes lead in Mandi; Champa Thakur leads over BJP’s Anil Sharma by over 3,900 votes. 

9.05 a.m.

CPI (M) and the Congress are leading in one seat in Himachal Pradesh. Anirudh Singh of the Congress is leading in Kasumpti, while CPI(M)’s Rakesh Singha is leading in Theog. Mr. Singha is a former Central Committee member and State Secretary of the party.

8.40 a.m.

As many as 2,820 counting staff have been deployed for the counting exercise which includes counting supervisors, counting assistants and micro observers. Chief Electoral Officer, Pushpender Rajput said three-tier security arrangements have been made at all counting centres. He said wire mesh barricading has been done at counting centers and there was a separate entry passage for counting staff and counting agents. Videography and CCTV coverage will be done in all counting centres.
 

8.30 a.m.

 

It's 2 degrees Celsius in Shimla and that has not deterred party workers from gathering outside counting centres, reports Kanwar Yogendra, our Shimla Correspondent.  First trends are in with postal vote counts: BJP is leading in 4, Congress in 1 and Others in 2.

8.20 a.m.

‘EVMs cannot be tampered with’

EVMs cannot be tampered with, news agency ANI quotes CEC A.K. Joti as saying. 

On the day of counting, Chief Election Commissioner A.K. Joti has reiterated that the electronic voting machines are safe and cannot be tampered with. In an interview to news gency ANI, Mr Joti said, the voters could check if their votes went to the candidate of their choice since the VVPAT was in place. The voters had no complaints, he claimed.

Counting of votes in progress in Himachal Pradesh on December 18, 2017.

Counting of votes in progress in Himachal Pradesh on December 18, 2017.   | Photo Credit: Kanwar Yogendra

 

8.05 a.m.

 

Counting of votes begins

Sanjauli Collage, one of the counting centres in Shimla on December 18, 2017.

Sanjauli Collage, one of the counting centres in Shimla on December 18, 2017.   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

 

Counting of votes has begun at 42 centres in the hill State to decide the fate of as many as 377 candidates. Postal ballots will be counted first, followed by Electronic Voting Machines. The VVPAT or voter verified paper audit trial is used this time. 

Our correspondent Kanwar Yogendra: 2°C on the historic Ridge road in Shimla, but political temperature hotting up. Supporters have started gathering...

 

7:40 a.m.

Key contests

A look at key contests in Himachal Pradesh

Sujanpur: BJP's chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal is pitted against the sitting MLA, Rajender Rana of Congress

Shimla Rural: Congress's Vikramaditya Singh vs. Dr. Pramod Sharma of the BJP

Arki: Congress CM Virbhadra Singh and Rattan Singh Pal of the BJP are wrestling for the seat.

7.30 a.m.

 

BJP brims with confidence

A day after the declaration of exit poll results, people from all walks of life were seen making a beeline for the house of Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister-designate of the BJP, on December 15.

Brimming with confidence on his hold over the organisation and his popularity, Mr. Dhumal told presspersons that he would give equal importance to all elected MLAs and create parity among Ministers.

 

7.15 a.m.

Himachal Pradesh registered a record 74.61% polling in this polls, breaking the 74.51% record of 2003. The percentage was 71.61 in 2007 and 73.51 in 2012. The highest turnout of 81.05% was recorded in Sirmaur district and the lowest of 70.19% in Hamirpur district. The Doon constituency in Solan district recorded the highest turnout of 88.95% and Shimla Urban recorded the lowest at 63.76%. The other districts like Chamba recorded 73.21%, Kangra 72.47%, Lahaul-Spiti 73.40%, Kullu 77.87%, Mandi 75.21%, Una 76.45%, Bilaspur 82.04%, Solan 77.44%, Shimla 72.68% and Kinnaur 75.09%.

As many as 37,21,647 electors voted at 7,525 polling stations in the State. Out of this, 19,10,582 were women, 18,11,061 men and four third gender.

 

7.10 a.m.

Both camps bet big

While a majority of exit polls indicate a clear victory for the BJP, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is confident that the Congress will win, notwithstanding the anti-incumbency factor and corruption charges. Just a day ahead of counting, Mr. Singh challenged the BJP’s CM candidate, saying “let him win his own seat first and then form the next government”.

Read more
 

 

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