The BJP, which fought its electoral battle on the plank of development in Himachal Pradesh on Monday emerged victorious with a clear mandate. Both Congress and BJP have been alternating power in the hill-state since 1990, and were battling it out in a straight contest in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.
However, Prem Kumar Dhumal’s loss came as a shocker for BJP even as he conceded his defeat and said the party’s victory is more important than personal loss.
The former chief minister, who contested from Sujanpur seat in Hamirpur district, lost to his Congress rival Rajinder Singh Rana by about 3,500 votes. With Dhumal’s defeat, the party is in search of a fresh chief ministerial face, even as the saffron party is all set to wrest power from the Congress.
The election, which was held on November 9, recorded a 75.28 per cent turnout, the highest in the state.
There were 337 candidates in the fray for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017, including Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who contested the polls from Arki in Solan district and former CM and BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, who contested from Sujanpur.
Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya were not able to hoist the Congress flag in the state, despite their own personal victories. While exit polls have predicted an easy win for the BJP in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress has rejected surveys.
Here are the highlights of Himachal Pradesh (HP) Assembly Elections Results 2017:
9:40 pm: Results declared for all the 68 constituencies: BJP wins in 44 seats, Congress wins 20, CPI (M) and Independent win 1 each, reports ANI.
9:00 pm: Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday appreciated all those voted in favour of BJP in Gujarat and Himachal Assembly elections. “This is a blessing by the people to the leadership of PM Modi and his government. It shows that they support his vision for development and the vision for the future of India,” he said.
8:45 pm: As of now, BJP has won on all of its 44 seats. Congress has won on 19 and was leading on 2, as per latest trends.
8:30 pm: Himachal Pradesh Health and Family Welfare minister Kaul Singh lost in Darang. His daughter Champa Thakur lost against BJP’s Anil Sharma in Mandi.
7:45 pm: Fresh inputs showed that BJP has won 38 seats in Himachal and is leading on 6 seats. Congress on the other hand has won 19 seats and was leading on 2.
7:30 pm: Appealing the general public to ignore the rumors around manipulation of EVMs, Chief Electoral Officer of Himachal Pradesh Pushpendra Rajput said the machines cannot be manipulated in any way.
“EVMs cannot be manipulated in any way. I want to urge everyone to ignore rumours on this matter. The election conducted through EVMs & VVPAT are completely unbiased,” he told ANI.
7:00 pm: BJP has won 34 seats so far and was leading on 10. Congress has won 18 and was leading on 3 as per the latest trends.
6:30 pm: According to latest trends, BJP has won 32 seats and was leading on 12 seats. Congress has won 17 and is leading on 4.
6:00 pm: Going by the latest trends, BJP has won 31 seats and is leading in 13 seats. Congress has won 17 seats and was leading on 4.
5:15 pm: As of now, BJP has won 27 seats and is leading in 17 seats, and Congress has won 15 seats and is leading in 6 seats. At Una, BJP’s Satpal Satti, a three time MLA, has lost to Satpal Raizada a young Congress leader.
5:00 pm: “I’ll always stand with government, whichever party it might be of, & serve people. As a son I am sad we couldn’t make it possible for him (Virbhadra Singh) to become the CM 7th time. We’ll analyse our drawbacks in meeting,” said Virbhadra’s son Vikramaditya Singh, who was leading in Shimla Rural.
4:45 pm: “We are sad about Prem Kumar Dhumal losing but we are happy that people of Himachal Pradesh voted for BJP,” says Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
4:30 pm: Meanwhile, Congress candidate Rajinder Rana, who won in Sujanpur against BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal thanked the people in the constituency for his victory. “It’s a symbol of people’s confidence in Congress. Thankful that they made me victorious. We have never stepped back from serving people in Sujanpur & we will always serve them,” he said.
4:15 pm: “Personal loss is not of much importance.The gain that victory has brought to state BJP is important. Thankful to people of the state for voting for BJP. In politics, sometimes one wins, sometimes one loses. I was not expecting to lose, I will do an analysis,” BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal was quoted as saying by ANI.
3.55 pm: Congress leader Virbhadra Singh speaking to the media, said, “I accept the victory of BJP. I, being the CM, take full responsibility of our performance here. I hope Vikramaditya (Singh) keeps winning in future, like he won today.”
3.50 pm: PM Modi thanked the people for restoring faith in BJP and said, “I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP.”
3.45 pm: BJP President Amit Shah attributed the party’s “victory” in the Assembly elections to “PM Narendra Modi’s development agenda and against the politics of casteism and appeasement.”
3.30 pm: As Dhumal trails in Surajpur, his office wore a deserted look.
3.01 pm: In case you’re just joining us, here’s a quick update on what’s going on in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Election Results 2017: The BJP is set to take control of the 68-member House in the hill state, but its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal still trails in Surjapur constituency. BJP’s Virender Kanwar, who has been elected from Kutlehar constituency, has announced he will give up his seat for the 73-year old former chief minister. Meanwhile, from the Congress camp, both Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son, Vikramaditya, have registered victories to the House.
2.58 pm: Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has won from Arki constituency. He beats BJP candidate Rattan Singh Pal. Virbhadra and his son have now registered victories to the 68-member Assembly.
2.49 pm: Newly elected BJP MLA from Kutlehar constituency, Virender Kanwar, announces that he will give up his seat for Prem Kumar Dhumal, who is trailing in his constituency in Sujanpur. Dhumal is still trailing by nearly 3,000 votes to Congress’ Rajinder Rana. Dhumal, 73, is the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate.
2.46 pm: Vikramaditya Singh wins Shimla (Rural). The Congress leader is the son of CM Virbhadra Singh.
2.40 pm: The tally right now stands at: BJP wins 5 seats, Congress 2 and 1 for CPM. Trends show the BJP is leading in 40 seats, while the Congress is up in 18 in the 68-member House. With BJP winning the hill-state, the BJP is now in power in 18 states, which the Congress’ hold has reduced to 4 states. Here’s a list of states under the BJP now.
2.38 pm: MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy says he’s extremely thankful to the people of Himachal Pradesh for elected the BJP to power. “People have given their mandate for PM @narendramodi’s welfare development policies and leadership of Sh @AmitShah Congratulations to all @BJP4India karyakartas on this great victory,” he tweets.
2.30 pm: Rohit Thakur of Congress wins Jubbal-Kotkhai by over 9000 votes defeating BJP’s Narinder Bragta.
2.05 pm: After winning the Theog constituency seat, the CPI(M) has dedicated the win to the people who “reposed faith in the party to protect their rights and work for their interest”, reports PTI. The CPI(M) politburo, in a statement, said its candidate Rakesh Singha’s win is significant in the backdrop of the straight contest between the Congress and the BJP. This is the second time Singha will return to the Himachal Pradesh Assembly as an MLA.
“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, in a statement, reported PTI.
2.02 pm: Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar says the newly-elected President scored a “zero” in his opening innings. Gandhi has just taking the reins of the party from his mother and former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
1.59 pm: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reacts to the BJP’s win in both states. Outside Parliament, she tells reporters, “Undoubtedly, a major victory. The kind of work which party workers have done right from booth workers level till the PM’s level; everybody put their best foot forward and both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have recognised the good work going on in the name of development,” reports ANI.
1.48 pm: Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam alleges the BJP has won the elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat due to EVMs. Describing EVMs as a “threat to Indian democracy,” he is quoted as saying by news agency PTI, “When the entire Gujarat was against the BJP and empty chairs could be seen during the prime minister’s poll rallies, this victory for the BJP is not by the people of Gujarat but by the EVMs.” He added, “We suspected this right from the beginning. All beware, this is a big threat to Indian democracy.”
1.41 pm: A quick tally of the votes till now: the BJP has won three seats, including Anni, Lahaul & Spiti and Shimla. The Congress has won two seats, Kasumpti and Shillai. The CPI has won the Theog constituency seat.
1.33 pm: As the BJP takes a comfortable lead in both the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections, a host of politicians have hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. Many have also commented on the leadership of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Here’s a list of who said what.
1.16 pm: BJP candidate Suresh Bhardwaj has been declared the winner of the Shimla constituency with 14,012 votes. Independent candidate Harish Janartha, who was trailing Bhardwaj, received 12,109 votes.
1.11 pm: The question on everyone’s mind is who will the BJP pick as chief minister of Himachal Pradesh? With Dhumal trailing, and unlikely to win the Sujanpur seat, the party has to nominate another candidate. Jai Ram Thakur, a four-time winner from Seraj constituency in Mandi district, may be the party’s pick. Jai Ram, who has a strong RSS background, was also a minister in last BJP government. Before Dhumal was announced by the party as CM candidate — just nine days ahead of the polls — several names were doing the rounds including Union Health Minister JP Nadda and RSS Parcharak Ajay Jamwal. So, who will it be? We’ll have to wait and find out.
1.07 pm: BJP MP Poonam Mahajan takes to Twitter to thank the people for choosing the party in the state. She tweets, “Thankful to all the people of Himachal Pradesh for choosing BJP wholeheartedly ! Congratulations to Shri @narendramodi ji, @AmitShah ji, Team @BJP4Himachal & all the karyakartas on this resounding victory !”
12.58 pm: Vikramaditya Singh, who’s making his political debut in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections, is leading by over 5,000 votes in Shimla (Rural) constituency. The 28-year-old, who’s also Himachal Pradesh youth Congress president, is the son of CM Virbhadra Singh. Vikramaditya isn’t the only first-timer this election, he is joined by a host of other Congress leaders including Champa Thakur, the daughter of Congress stalwart and Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur and Ashish Butail, Congress leader BBL Butail’s son, who is seeking election from Palampur.
12.54 pm: With Parliament underway in New Delhi, here’s a picture of newly-elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi surrounded by reporters.
12.51 pm: Union Minister Smriti Irani says, “It is a matter of happiness for us, this is the victory of development.” When asked if Congress is giving the BJP a tough fight, she adds, “jo jeeta wohi sikandar. It is victory of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development,” reports ANI.
12.47 pm: False alarm? Some mix up at Dhumal’s residence in Samirpur had BJP workers celebrating for a few minutes, after hearing the BJP CM candidate was leading by 4,400 votes. However, the happiness was short-lived; the eighth round of counting is underway and Dhumal is still trailing.
12.42 pm: The CPM has registered a victory in Theog constituency; its candidate Rakesh Singha, won 24,564 votes, beating BJP candidate Rakesh Verma and Congress’ Deepak Rathore. Theog was the bastion of veteran Congress leader Vidya Stokes, whose nomination was rejected.
12.38 pm: In case you’re just joining us, here’s a quick update on what’s been going on. Counting of votes for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections Results 2017 began at 8 am this morning. The BJP is, so far, leading in 40 seats of the 68-member House, while the Congress is up in 21 seats. BJP has won two seats, while the Congress has won one, according to the official figures with the EC. BJP CM candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal is currently trailing in Sujanpur constituency, triggering debate on who the BJP will nominate as CM after its win.
12.35 pm: Speaking to reporters, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who campaigned for the party in the hill-state, says the people have rejected the “divisive politics of Congress.” He adds, “This win is due to the dynamic leadership of BJP and the hard work of BJP workers,” reports ANI. A host of BJP leaders have reacted to the party’s leads in both Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, including Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Prakash Javadekar and ministers Giriraj Singh, Sakshi Mahajan, among others.
12.32 pm: Here’s the party wise vote share for the Himachal polls.
12.30 pm: With the BJP set to register wins in both Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, party president Amit Shah is expected to hold a press conference at the party headquarters in New Delhi at 2 pm.
12.03 pm: At noon, here are the latest trends: The sixth round of counting is currently underway in Himachal Pradesh. BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal continues to trail in Sujanpur constituency, where Congress’ Rajender Rana is up by over 2,000 votes. Congress has registered a victory in one seat, the CPM in one seat and three to the BJP — Anni, Jaisinghpur and Shimla. Prakash Rana, an Independent candidate has won one seat as well.
11.54 am: The Congress and the BJP have been alternating power in Himachal Pradesh since 1990. In 2003, the Congress won the legislative polls, but was ousted in 2007 by the BJP. It returned to power in 2012 — Congress won 36 seats in the House, while BJP bagged 27 and Independents won 5 seats. In 2017, now, the BJP seems to be staging a comeback, with trends indicating the party is leading in 41 of 67 seats so far.
11.49 am: HRD Prakash Javadekar says development in the “mantra” of the BJP. Speaking to reporters, Javadekar says, “Development is the mantra of today’s polity. And therefore people are with Modiji,” reports PTI.
11.44 am: Here’s a quick update on BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal. Dhumal is trailing by over 1,000 votes in the Sujanpur seat. His residence remains closed for visitors today, according to our reporters on ground. The question remains: who will the BJP field as chief minister now?
11.32 am: Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is leading from Arki constituency, by over 3,500 votes. Here are the numbers right now: the BJP leads in 40 seats, while Congress is up in 21 seats. In other news, Virbhadra Singh’s son, Vikramaditya, is also leading in Shimla (Rural).
11.25 am: In other news, the stock market tanked this morning as early leads indicated a close contest between the BJP and the Congress in Gujarat. With the BJP picking up its lead in the state, Sensex is back in the green, trading at 238 points higher at 33,701. The broader Nifty, which also took a hit this morning, is trading 76 points higher at 10,409. The indices had fallen as much as 867 points and 258 points respectively. Follow live updates on the market here.
11.17 am: The Congress has won one seat; candidate Anirudh Singh defeats BJP’s Vijay Jyoti by a margin of over 9,000 votes in the Kasumpti seat.
11.09 am: The BJP cadre has begun celebrating, as trends indicate wins for the party in not just Himachal Pradesh but also in Gujarat (follow our LIVE BLOG on the Gujarat Assembly Election Results here). In New Delhi, party workers raised BJP flags and have begun their cheers!
11.02 am: The BJP looks like it will oust the Congress-led government in the state, with trends indicating 43 seats in favour of the saffron party against 21 for the Congress. The two parties, which have been swapping power in the state since 1990, are in a straight contest in the hill-state; other parties are leading in only four seats.
10.55 am: The tally of leads right now are as follows: the BJP is up in 41 seats while the Congress is leading in 24 seats.
10.44 am: While counting is underway for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections Results 2017 as well as the Gujarat polls, the Winter Session of Parliament resumes this morning in New Delhi. Union Minister Rajnath Singh tells reporters that the BJP will form both governments with “clear majority,” reports ANI. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived at the Parliament complex this morning, flashed a victory sign.
10.35 am: Current trends: Vijay Singh, contesting as an Independent, is leading by 1,000 votes in Shahpur constituency. In Dharamshala, Congress’ Sudhir Sharma is trailing by 1,500 votes. In Haroli constituency, Congress candidate Mukesh Agnihotri is leading by 2,000 votes. He is minister for industries in the state. Meanwhile, forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri trails by 2,000 votes in Bharmour constituency.
10.18 am: Here’s a quick wrap of what’s happening with the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections Results 2017: the BJP is now leading in 40 seats, while the Congress is leading in 23 seats. The incumbent Congress government, which was predicted to fall by exit polls, remains defiant of remaining in power in the state. Congress’ candidate from Shimla (Rural) Vikramaditya maintains that the party will “reverse trends.” He is chief minister Virabhadra Singh’s son, who is also making a political debut this election.
10.11 am: BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal is trailing from Sujanpur constituency by 1,709 votes. The 83-year-old has elected chief minister twice in Himachal Pradesh before, and is currently the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. The BJP, which hadn’t initially projected a chief ministerial candidate, decided to announce Dhumal half-way through its campaign. Read The Indian Express editorial on The Dhumal Turn.
10.06 am: Vikramaditya, CM Virbhadra’s son who is making his political debut in the polls, has said it is too early to comment on the results. “It is too early for us to comment,” the Congress candidate says, “We will reverse the trends.” Vikramaditya, 28, is contesting the polls from Shimla (Rural).
10.00 am: According to official Election Commission figures, the BJP has taken the lead in 38 seats while the Congress is ahead on 22 seats. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is contesting from Arki in Solan district, is leading by 1,162 votes, according to ANI.
9.41 am: Here are some other trends coming through: Vikramaditya, Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh’s son and Congress youth president, is leading by 1,316 votes in Shimla (Rural). The seat was vacated by Virabhadra for his son to make his political debut. Meanwhile, BJP’s Suresh Bhardwaj is ahead of Congress’ Harbhajan Singh (no, not the cricketer) in Shimla (Urban); he’s up by 1,500 votes. Meanwhile, what we’re seeing in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections Results 2017 is Indu Gauswamy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aide, leading in Palampur constituency.
9.21 am: Here are some interesting trends: BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal is currently trailing by 600 votes in the first round of counting from Sujanpur constituency. He’s contesting against Congress’ Rajinder Rana. Meanwhile, HPCC president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu is leading by 2,000 votes against BJP candidate Vijay Agnihotri from Nadaun constituency.
9.11 am: If you’re just joining us, here’s a quick update on what’s happening on the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017: Counting is underway for the 68-member House in the hill-state. According to early trends, the BJP is leading in 23 seats while the Congress is up in 14. Himachal remains one of the five states under Congress rule, and the results of this election will hold significance for newly-elected party president Rahul Gandhi.
8.56 am: In Hamirpur constituency, BJP’s Narinder Thakur is leading by 900 votes against Congress candidate Kuldeep Pathania. Here’s a picture of SD Boys School in Hamirpur, where the counting of votes is being conducted. In Barsar constituency, BJP’s candidate Baldev Sharma is leading by 452 votes over Congress’ Inder Dutt Lakhanpal in the first round.
8.46 am: According to initial trends, the BJP is leading in 16 seats while the Congress is up in 10, for the 68-member House.
8.35 am: While we’re all glued to our televisions/internet as early trends emerge in the polls, CM Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh and their son and youth Congress president Vikramaditya are at Holly Lodge, watching the same. According to their election affidavits, Vikramaditya is wealthier than his father, who is a six time CM in the state. While Vikramaditya has property worth Rs 84 crore, including Rs 79.82 crore as immovable property, Virbhadra has disclosed total assets of Rs 30 crore.
On a side note, the Election Commission now asks candidates to disclose their Facebook and Twitter profiles. CM Virbhadra has obliged in his affidavit this time (@virbhadrasingh)
8.31 am: Do you think exit poll predictions will be accurate in Himachal Pradesh? According to polls, the BJP is headed for a landslide victory in the state. However, CM Virbhadra Singh has dismissed all predictions, and described exit polls as “unscientific.” Calling for them to be banned, he had said, “These are not based on facts or real factors. I know the people’s pulse. I have been on the ground during campaigning. I have more sense of what people think than those conducting such exit polls. Exit polls have also been proved wrong in the past.” What do you think?
8.18 am: The two main candidates contesting the polls today, for the Congress and BJP respectively, are Chief Minister Virabhadra Singh and BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal. Singh contested the polls from Arki in Solan district. Dhumal contested the polls from Sujanpur. Singh has vacated the Shimla (Rural) constituency for his son, Vikramaditya Singh, who is contesting the polls for the first time.
8.13 am: Here are some visuals from the counting centre in Hamirpur. According to early trends, the Congress is leading in two seats while the BJP is leading in three. Now, remember, this is a straight contest between the two rival parties, which have alternating in power in the state since 1990. Counting for all 68 seats are currently underway, simultaneously.
8.06 am: While the Himachal Pradesh elections have been largely overshadowed by the Gujarat polls, which are taking place simultaneously (for our coverage of Gujarat, click here), the hill-state remains one of the last five states under the Congress. Virbhadra Singh, 83, who is eyeing a seventh term as Chief Minister in the state, remains a popular face for the party in the state. At one point, ahead of the polls, he had threatened to not contest the election, but was later announced as the Congress’ chief ministerial candidate.
8.00 am: Counting of votes has begun in Himachal. Service ballots will be counted first. The initial trends are likely to be revealed shortly, between 8.15 am and 8.30 am.
7.45 am: There are 48 counting centres set up in Himachal Pradesh today; the first trends are likely to be out between 8.15 and 8.30 am. The counting of votes for Lahaul Spiti will be done at Kullu.
7.35 am: Interestingly, more women cast their vote in the Himachal polls that men. As many as 19,10,582 female voters exercised their franchise, according to official figures, while there were 18,11,061 male voters. However, the number of male voters was 74,200 more than females, reports news agency PTI. In Kangra district, the biggest in the state, 4,61,278 women cast votes against 3,96,208 men. Similarly, in Mandi district, 2,96,898 against 2,71,725 by men.
7.31 am: The state, which went to polls on November 9, recorded the highest-ever voter turnout this year with 75.28 per cent of the people exercising their franchise — during the 2012 polls, the voter turnout was 73.5 per cent. There were 7,521 polling stations set up in the state this year. The Election Commission deployed VVPAT machines, as well as EVMs, for the first time, in a bid to ensure transparency in polling.
7.25 am: Exit polls in the state predicted a landslide win for the BJP. The lowest predicted for the Congress was 6 by News 24-Today’s Chankaya and the maximum for BJP was 55 by Chanakya and India Today-Axis My India survey. In the previous Assembly elections in the state, held in 2012, the Congress had won 36 seats while the BJP had bagged 26 seats.
7.15 am: Welcome to our live blog on the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections verdict. Stay tuned, as we bring you news and updates as counting of votes to the 68-member House begins.
(With inputs from ENS and agencies)