The BJP will sweep Himachal Pradesh, forecast exit polls. A poll of exit polls - an aggregate of eight surveys by television channels - shows the BJP getting 47 of the hill state's 68 seats. It shows the Congress ceding power and having to settle for 20 seats.
- Poll of exit polls shows BJP getting 49 of 68 seats
- None of the surveys give Congress any more than 24 seats
- Prem Kumar Dhumal was named BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate
A party needs 35 seats or more to cross the halfway mark and form government in Himachal Pradesh. In 2012, the Congress had won 36 seats scraping past the half-way mark. The BJP had won 26.
Two polls give the BJP 51 seats, three others show it touch 50 seats in the upper range of their band, and only one shows it at just over the halfway mark at the lower end.
In 2012, the Congress had won 36 seats scraping past the half-way mark. The BJP had won 27.
Do remember, exit polls often get it wrong.
In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP changed the strategy it has used in recent state elections of not projecting anyone for chief minister and seeking votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his development agenda. The party named Prem Kumar Dhumal as its presumptive chief minister to take on Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh of the Congress.
A 74 per cent voter turnout on polling day was seen as a vote for change and Mr Dhumal, 73, has said he is confident of a "thumping majority."
The BJP built its Himachal Pradesh campaign around corruption charges that Virbhadra Singh, 83, faces. The Congress attacked the BJP over demonetisation and new national tax GST.
Himachal Pradesh had voted on November 9, but votes will be counted 40 days later on Monday, December 18, along with those for Gujarat.
While the Election Commission had announced elections for the two states separately - sooner in Himachal because bad weather was expected - it said votes would be counted on the same day as Gujarat as the poll panel did not want the result of one state to influence voters in another.
All exit polls show the BJP, which has been in power in state for 22 years, retaining Gujarat.