The Congress on Thursday defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, securing 40 out of 68 seats.

The BJP won 25 seats, while Independent candidates secured victories in the remaining three constituencies.

With the elections results, the hill state has continued its tradition of voting out incumbent governments after each term. The last time that the state voted an incumbent government back to power was in 1985.

While the Congress surged comfortably ahead of the BJP in terms of seats, it was only marginally ahead in terms of vote share. The Congress got 43.9% of the votes, while the BJP received 43% of the popular mandate.

Other parties and Independents garnered 10.39% of the votes, while new entrant Aam Aadmi Party secured just 1.10% of the mandate.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur tendered his resignation to Governor Rajendra Arlekar. He asserted that he would never stop working for the development of the state’s residents.

Thakur noted that the BJP lost the Himachal Pradesh elections by a difference of just 1% in vote share. “Congress won with least vote share in the state’s history,” he said, according to ANI. “But I respect the poll results. Hope Congress elects their chief minister soon and starts working for the state.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing BJP workers at the party headquarters, expressed gratitude to voters in Himachal Pradesh. He also said that the party lost by a very small margin.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra thanked the residents of Himachal Pradesh for the party’s win in the state. “Best wishes to all Congress leaders and workers,” she said on Twitter. “Your hard work bore fruit.”

Eight state ministers among losing candidates

Eight ministers in the outgoing government were defeated in their constituencies on Thursday, The Hindu reported.

They are Suresh Bharadwaj, Ram Lal Markanda, Sarveen Chaudhary, Virender Kanwar, Govind Singh Thakur, Rajiv Saizal, Rakesh Pathania and Rajinder Garg.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur won from the Seraj constituency against the Congress’ Chet Ram by a margin of 38,183 votes.