The Bharatiya Janata Party will form the next government in Himachal Pradesh, having won from 44 constituencies. The Election Commission declared the Assembly poll results on Monday.
A record 74.61% of voters of the 49.05 lakh electorate had turned up to choose from 338 candidates for 68 Assembly seats on November 9. Himachal Pradesh, which is currently ruled by the Congress, has swung back and forth between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress for more than three decades now, with the incumbent government being voted out every time.
Here is how the day unfolded:
9.52 pm: A look at how the seat shares of parties changed in Himachal Pradesh since 1967.
9.36 pm: The BJP bagged 44 constituencies and the Congress, 20. The Election Commission has yet to declare the results for two of the 68 seats.
8.53 pm: With the final tally for just five seats yet to be declared, the BJP has now won 42 of the 68 seats in the Assembly. The Congress remains at 19. Both parties are leading in two constituencies each.
8.24 pm: The BJP won 40 of the 68 seats in the Assembly and the Congress, 19. The Election Commission has not declared the results for seven constituencies yet.
8.09 pm: The BJP has crossed the halfway mark in the 68-seat Himachal Pradesh Assembly, having won 38 seats, according to the Election Commission. The Congress secured a win in only 19 seats and is leading in two.
7.38 pm: With 34 constituencies, the BJP has hit the halfway mark in the 68-seat Himachal Pradesh Assembly. The Congress has won 19 seats and is leading in two.
7.13 pm: The BJP has won 34 seats and is ahead in 10. The Congress has won 17 seats and is leading in four others. An independent candidate bagged one constituency, and a candidate for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) won one seat.
6.43 pm: “The results in Himachal Pradesh show that if you don’t do development and are embroiled in all wrong acts, then after five years, people will not accept you,” Modi said.
6.39 pm: The BJP has won 31 seats and is ahead in 13 others. The Congress has won 17 seats and is leading in four others.
6.35 pm: At the BJP’s Delhi headquarters, Narendra Modi said the party will go on to win Karnataka and North East states where the Congress is in power. He said it was evident now that the country was ready for reform and more development.
6.25 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the BJP’s Delhi headquarters after the party looked set to win the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh. BJP President Amit Shah is also present at the venue.
6.15 pm: The BJP has won 30 seats and is ahead in 14 others. The Congress has won 17 seats and is leading in four others.
6 pm: BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal said he was “not expecting to lose” from Sujanpur constituency and will analyse the “reasons for this loss”. The Election Commission has not declared Congress candidate Rajinder Rana the winner from the seat yet, though he is currently leading by 2,933 votes.
5.34 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami congratulated the Bharatiya Janata Party for the wins in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
5.23 pm: Congress’ Rajinder Rana said his victory was a symbol of people’s confidence in the party. He stood against the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal in Sujanpur. The Election Commission, however, has not yet declared the seat for Rana. He is currently leading by 2,933 votes in the constituency.
5.01 pm: Incumbent Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s son Vikramaditya said, “I’ll always stand with government, whichever party it might be of, and serve people.” He added that he was sad that his father could not become the chief minister for the seventh time.
Vikramaditya is currently leading in his Shimla (Rural) seat by 4,880 votes, while Virbhadra is leading in Arki by 6,051 votes. The incumbent chief minister had announced that this would be his last election.
4.55 pm: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “We are sad about Prem Kumar Dhumal losing, but we are happy that people of Himachal Pradesh voted for the BJP.”
4.54 pm: The Bharatiya Janata Party has won 19 seats, and is leading in 25, according to the Election Commission. The Congress has won 12 constituencies, and is ahead in 9. An independent candidate and one from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have also won one seat each. Counting is underway in 35 seats.
4.49 pm: The BJP’s chief ministerial nominee Prem Kumar Dhumal said, “The bigger thing is BJP’s victory, personal loss is not an issue.” Dhumal, who contested from the Sujanpur constituency, is trailing 2,933 votes behind Congress’ Rajinder Rana.
4.41 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi accepted the defeat in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, and congratulated the new governments in both the states. “I thank the people of Gujarat and Himachal [Pradesh] with all my heart for the love they showed me,” he said.
4.33 pm: BJP President Amit Shah said the election results were a victory of development over dynasty and polarisation. “We will win the upcoming assembly election in four states, including Karnataka,” he said, according to ANI.
4.12 pm: Himachal Pradesh’s outgoing Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said he accepts responsibility for the Congress’ performance in the elections.
3.50 pm: Himachal Pradesh’s BJP President Satpal Singh Satti has lost to Congress’ Satpal Singh Raizada by a margin of 3,196 votes in the Una constituency, the Election Commission announced. So far, the commission has declared nine seats for the BJP, six for the Congress and 1 for the CPI(M).
3.40 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the people for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s win in Himachal Pradesh as well as Gujarat, and said the results were an indication that the people supported the “politics of good governance and development”.
3.20 pm: The BJP has won nine seats so far, and the Congress five, according to Election Commission data.
2.30 pm: Congress supporters stage protests outside the party headquarters in New Delhi, alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party has won the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat due to tampering of electronic voting machines, News18 reported.
1.45 pm: Nearly 1% of the voters, or 28,442 people, have opted for the None of the Above or the Nota option in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, Election Commission data showed.
1.36 pm: The Bharatiya Janata Party has won another seat in the hill state, taking its total tally to three, while the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has won one seat.
1.29 pm: BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal continues to trail by 3,148 votes in the Sujanpur constituency. Earlier in the day, his supporters celebrated for a few minutes on hearing that he was leading by 4,400 votes, according to The Indian Express. However, the mix up was quickly cleared and the mood turned sombre.
12.48 pm: The BJP is now leading in 39 seats, with the Congress ahead in 22.
BJP supporters celebrate outside the party offices in New Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu as the trends continue to indicate a win for the saffron party in the Assembly elections in Gujarat as well as Himachal Pradesh.
12.18 pm: The Bharatiya Janata Party has won 2 seats in the hill state. In Anni constituency, Kishori Lal beat Congress’ Paras Ram by a margin of 5,983 votes, and in Shimla, Suresh Bhardwaj beat Independent candidate Harish Janartha by 1,903 votes. The BJP is now leading in 41 other seats.
12.08 pm: The BJP was leading in 42 seats and the Congress in 21 seats, according to Election Commission data. Others, including the CPI (M) and Independent candidates were ahead in 4 seats.
11.20 am: BJP workers are celebrating at the party’s headquarters in Delhi, and in Shimla.
11.15 am: In Kasumpti constituency, Congress’ Anirudh Singh beat BJP’s Vijay Jyoti by a margin of 9,397 votes. While the Congress is leading in 22 other seats in the hill state, the BJP is ahead in 39 constituencies, and other parties are leading in 3 seats.
10.50 am: Home Minister Rajnath Singh says his party will form the government in both Himachal and Gujarat with a “clear majority”.
10.49 am: The Congress’ chief ministerial candidate Virbhadra Singh is now leading in the Arki constituency by 1,933 votes, while BJP’s Dhumal is trailing by 1,059 votes. Singh’s son Vikramaditya is leading by 1,608 votes in Shimla Rural, according to the latest EC figures.
10.39 am: According to NDTV, the BJP is leading in 41 seats, and the Congress in 22 seats, while News18 reported that the saffron party was ahead in 42 seats.
The Election Commission of India’s latest figures show that the BJP is ahead in 37 seats, and the Congress in 22 constituencies.
10.16 am: The EC says the BJP is leading in 35 seats, and the Congress in 22 seats. BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal was trailing is now trailing by 1,709 votes in Sujanpur, while Virbhadra Singh is leading by 1,017 votes.
10.10 am: The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex and the National Stock Exchange Nifty opened lower on Monday. But the Sensex made some gains later, and was up more than 187 points at 33,650.80.
10.08 am: The BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal was trailing by 540 votes in Sujanpur, while the Congress’ Virbhadra Singh was leading by more than 1,000 in his Arki Assembly seat.
9.53 am: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s son Vikramaditya is leading by 1,316 votes in Shimla Rural.
Party-wise, the BJP is leading in 30 seats, and the Congress is in 21 seats, according to the EC.
9.43 am: News18 has called Himachal Pradesh for the Bharatiya Janata Party, which it said was leading in 39 seats. The Congress was on its way to lose the state, it reported.
9.40 am: The BJP is now leading in 27 constituencies and the Congress in 15, according to the EC. NDTV reported that the BJP has a lead in 38 seats, and News18 said the saffron party is ahead in 39.
A party needs 35 seats to win the Assembly election.
9.35 am: The BJP and Congress are leading in 13 seats each, according to the Election Commission.
9.25 am: The BJP is leading in 10 seats, and the Congress in 9 seats, according to the Election Commission.
9.17 am: The Election Commission says the Congress is leading in 4 seats, the BJP in 3 seats and the CPI(M) in 1 seat.
NDTV, however, said the BJP is ahead in 23 constituencies and the Congress in 14 constituencies, while News18 reported that the BJP is leading in 24 seats, and the Congress in 16.
9.09 am: The latest figures released by the Election Commission shows the BJP leading in 2 seats, and the Congress and the CPI(M) in one seat each.
9.04 am: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is leading in one seat, and the Congress is ahead in one seat, according to the Election Commission of India.
The major players in the state are the Congress and the BJP, both of which have fielded candidates in all 68 constituencies. Other parties in the fray are the Bahujan Samaj Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Swabhiman Party, the Lok Gathbandhan Party and the Communist Party of India, besides 112 Independent candidates.
8.48 am: The BJP is now leading in 11 seats, and the Congress in 3 seats, NDTV said. According to News18, BJP is ahead in 11 seats, while Congress in 2 seats.
8.33 am: The BJP is leading in 7 seats, while the Congress is ahead in 2 seats, according to News18. The saffron party is leading in 3 seats, and the Congress in one seat, NDTV said. However, there are no updates form the Election Commission yet.
8.25 am: Early trends, according to the NDTV, shows the Congress leading in one seat.
8.20 am: Early trends show the Bharatiya Janata Party leading in four seats, according to News18.
8 am: Counting of votes begins at 42 centres in Himachal Pradesh.
7.30 am: Counting set to begin at 8 am.
A number of exit polls have predicted a comfortable win for the BJP. A poll of polls projected a 47-20 seat share in favour of the saffron party in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly.