Himachal Pradesh results: Major gains for the Congress
Edited by Amit Chaturvedi | Updated: December 20, 2012 09:54 IST
The November 4 elections saw a record turnout of 74.70 per cent.
The Congress says that high voter turnout is a clear indication of an anti-incumbency vote. Its leader Virbhadra Singh says the party will get a decisive lead this time.
Opinion polls and analysts give the Congress an edge in a state which has always voted against incumbency. No ruling party has retained power for two straight terms in Himachal.
An unfazed Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has asserted that he will create history by getting a second consecutive term.
The results are crucial for the future of Congress leader and five-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh, 78, who had to resign from the Union Cabinet over allegations of corruption. He was appointed the party's chief in the state just days before the polling.
Votes are being counted at 39 centres under heavy security. Being a smaller state with fewer seats than Gujarat, where counting is also underway, all results are expected by afternoon in Himachal.
Kangra district, the largest in the state with 15 seats, could play the decider in the elections. The region was dominated by the BJP in the last elections.
The Congress and the BJP are contesting all 68 seats. The Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP), formed by BJP rebel Maheshwar Singh, has put up candidates in 36 seats and could give a tough fight in Shimla, Kullu, Palampur and Jaswan Pragpur.
Of the total 459 candidates, a record number of 106 are independents. They and rebels, such as Congress legislator Yograj and former minister Ishwar Dass, could play spoilsport for the BJP and the Congress.
In the last elections, the BJP won by a landslide, winning 41 seats. The Congress bagged 23 and the BSP one seat.
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