While the Congress could not muster enough support in the Delhi Municipal Elections or in the Gujarat State Assembly, Himachal Pradesh has proved to be a much needed panacea for the Congress’ woes,
Th e Congress took a clear lead over the BJP after a close contest after five hours of counting. The poll outcome in the hill state will decide the revival of the grand old party, which now holds power only in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, both of which will go to polls in 2023.
With the Congress wresting power in Himachal Pradesh by bagging 40 seats in the 68-seat Assembly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out that the difference in the number of votes between BJP and winning party was less than 1 per cent. ‘I want to thank Election Commission for conducting elections peacefully. As far as I know, re-polling in any poll booth was not required. I also want to thank the voters of Himachal. The difference between the number of votes for BJP & Congress was less than 1%,’ PM Modi said.
Himachal Pradesh has a strong track record of anti-incumbency, having never repeated a government in power in the last 37 years. It has become sort of a tradition at the hustings for the Himachali voter to give ‘the other a chance.’
The Congress leaders worked hard to neutralize the BJP effect, with many pointing out rising prices and growing discontent amidst the powerful apple farmer lobby. Local political powers such as Sukhwinder Sukhu in Hamirpur, Mukesh Agnihotri in Una, and Himachal Congress president Pratibha Singh in Shimla are also said to have held sway over voter decision-making to give the Congress a good mandate.
Congress has won majority with 40 seats, BJP has won 25 seats, and others 3. Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party failed to open its account, after initially hitting the campaign trail in the mountainous state before shifting focus to Mumbai.
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