The Himachal Pradesh Assembly will run out its term by November 2017 and the state is expected to go to polls in the next few months to elect the next government. The 68-member Assembly is currently ruled by the Congress which holds 36 seats compared to Opposition BJP which has 26. Since 1985, the state has never re-elected a party and Congress and BJP have exchanged the position of power with each other since. Prior to BJP’s first win in the state in 1990, Congress had conceded power only once to the Janta Party in 1977.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who has also served multiple Lok Sabha terms, will fight for a fifth term as CM of Himachal Pradesh. On the other hand, the BJP will be riding on back of resounding victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand where the party won 312 seats out of 403 and 56 out of 70 seats, respectively. BJP MP Anurag Thakur indicated in March that the party is eyeing around 60 seats in the upcoming elections.
Himachal Pradesh is one of the few states where the Congress remains in power and it will be crucial for the party to retain its position as the Lok Sabha elections 2019 approach. One of the major troubles it faces is the fact that CM Virbhadra Singh’s name has featured in corruption cases.
The BJP comes on the back of a sweeping Lok Sabha victory in the state too. It won all four seats in 2014 including the Mandi seat known to be a Congress stronghold and then held by Virbhadra’s wife Pratibha Singh.