Congress Leads In Himachal, Party’s Plan To Protect Flock: 10 Points

Himachal Pradesh Election Results 2022: A total of 412 candidates are in the fray in this election.

Shimla/New Delhi:
After an early lead for the ruling BJP, the Congress is nearing majority in Himachal Pradesh. Stakes are higher for the Congress as its chances in Gujarat are dim. The BJP is fighting the tradition of the state changing its government every election.

Here are 10 key facts that explain the elections:

  1. The Congress has put up a spirited challenge and is now across the majority mark after nearly a third of all votes have been counted. At 10.45 am, the Congress was ahead on 34 of the 68 seats; BJP on 29. At least four rebels candidates — three of BJP and One of Congress — are leading.

  2. Chances of a much-needed win are making the Congress jittery, and it is planning to send in some national leaders to the hill state and move the MLAs to Raipur in Chhattisgarh to counter any poaching attempts by the BJP, sources have told NDTV. Exit polls kept all possibilities open, or even a hung House — with Independents playing a key role. Of the 55 lakh voters, over 75 per cent voted in the November 12 election.

  3. Besides the issues of development, emotive appeals and campaign strategies, two factors will be at play as Himachal’s poll results come out today. One, whether the Himalayan state’s “rivaaj” (tradition) of changing the government every election continues. Two, whether the large number of rebels can dent the BJP’s chances at bucking that tradition.

  4. In the 2017 assembly elections, the BJP won a comfortable majority of 44; the Congress got 21, with one seat going to CPI-M, and two to Independents. The BJP effected a generational change in leadership as its presumptive chief minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal, lost his seat, and Jairam Thakur got the chair.

  5. Himachal has never re-elected the ruling party after 1985 — a trend that the BJP, powered by PM Narendra Modi’s aggressive campaign, hopes to end. The BJP slogan this time was “Raj nahin, riwaaj badlega”, meaning “the tradition will change, not the government”. The BJP has bucked a similar trend in another hill state, Uttarakhand, and it cited repeatedly in Himachal Pradesh, home state of the party’s national president JP Nadda

  6. But the “rivaaj” is the reason why the Congress, which has run a lowkey campaign — it says that’s a thought-out strategy — sounded confident that it’ll get its turn. The stakes are particularly high for the Congress, which has been on a losing spree for over two years now, not registering a single state victory on its own. It currently has chief ministers only in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, both of which go to polls in 2023.

  7. Rebel candidates — those contesting as Independents after being denied party ticket — have been a factor in the campaign, and may hold the key if there’s a hung House. The BJP had rebels on 21 seats. Both parties are in touch with the rebels and other Independents.

  8. While BJP saw rebels across the state, the Congress has a tussle at the top. There’s no Virbhadra Singh, the ex-royal and six-time chief minister who was the party’s tallest leader in the state until his death last year. His wife Pratibha Singh, currently an MP, is the state Congress chief; and their son Vikramaditya Singh is a candidate. Sukhvinder Sukhu, the current Leader of Opposition, and Mukesh Agnihotri are other claimants.

  9. The AAP made some noises here after winning the neighbouring state of Punjab early this year. But it later chose to concentrate on the Delhi civic poll, which it won yesterday, and the Gujarat assembly polls, results of which are to come along with Himachal’s today.

  10. The promise of restarting the old pension scheme spurred the Congress campaign as a large chunk of the population is in government jobs. The BJP has made its “double engine” pitch, implying that having the same party in power at the Centre and in the state guarantees development on all fronts.

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