Himachal Pradesh Assembly election result LIVE: PM Modi can be seen with PK Dhumal
After running an aggressive campaign in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, BJP claimed victory
in both the states. Himachal Pradesh election was essentially viewed as a power tussle between Chief minister Virbhadra Singh and BJP's chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal.
People of Himachal Pradesh have been alternating power between the BJP and Congress since 1985. The election, which took place on November 9, saw a record voter turnout of 74 per cent. An NDTV poll of eight exit polls had indicated that the BJP was set for a big win in the state, however, Congress had remained confident of victory. NDTV's coverage of the Gujarat Assembly election
result can be seen here
Here are the highlights of the Himachal Pradesh election result 2017:
The BJP's chief ministerial candidate PK Dhumal has lost his election. The counting in two ballot boxes in Sujanpur from where he contested is over.
A parliamentary board meeting was held today after BJP's twin win in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. BJP Chief Amit Shah presided over the meeting that was attended by PM Modi and other cabinet members. The poll outcomes were discussed at the meet and the board concluded that in the near future, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Saroj Pandey will tour Gujarat and set course towards leadership. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Tomar will conduct a similar tour in Himachal Pradesh to do the same.
BJP Confident Of Winning Meghalaya
After claiming the twin-win in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the BJP today said it is confident of winning Meghalaya where assembly elections are slated next year.
"Party workers are already working on the ground to achieve its target "Mission 40", targeting to win 40 seats in the 60-member assembly in the elections scheduled to be held in February-March next year," said BJP national spokesperson Nalin Kohli.
"The mood of change is already certain in Meghalaya. The people of Meghalaya are looking for a new change and this is obvious with several Congress legislators jumping the ship," Mr Kohli told IANS.
"Politics of development is getting stamp of approval across India under the BJP rule. Why should Meghalaya be excluded from it?" he said.
Talking about the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat Assembly Election results, senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said, "Congress has fought this election with decency."
"Modi and Amit Shah ji both wandered. The way he (PM Modi) fought without issue, it's a question on the self respect of Gujarat," Mr Gehlot alleged.
"Modi ji is prime minister of the country. He is not the president of BJP. I have heard that seaplane (that he rode in Gujarat) came from Pakistan and was parked in Mumbai. This is a matter of investigation also. Who allowed them to sit in that?" he questioned.
The latest Election Commission figures suggest BJP claiming victory in 41 assembly constituencies in Himachal Pradesh. The ruling Congress has been able to claim victory in only 19 seats. The results are not out yet and while BJP is leading in three seats, Congress is leading in two constituencies.
Shakeel Ahmad, National Spokesperson, Congress, said, Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya have won despite Congress' defeat in Himachal Pradesh.
BJP has won 35 seats in the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh, while Congress has claimed victory in 19 assembly constituencies, according to the latest Election Commission figures.While BJP is leading in nine seats, Congress is leading in two constituencies.
Referring to the allegations of tampering of electronic voting machines, Pushpendra Rajput, Chief Electoral Officer of Himachal Pradesh, said, "EVMs cannot be manipulated in any way. I want to urge everyone to ignore rumours on this matter. The election conducted through EVMs and VVPATs are completely unbiased."
Victory in Himachal Pradesh was critical for Congress, which now remains in power in Punjab, Karnataka, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
As BJP succeeded in retaining Gujarat too, BJP Kerala chief Kummanem Rajasekheran today said the results are in line with the party's slogan of "Congress-mukt Bharat" (an India free of Congress).
"The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is working for a 'Congress-mukt Bharat' (Congress-free India) and by regaining Himachal Pradesh and retaining Gujarat, things are going as per the plan," said Mr Rajasekheran.
Gujarat Voters Twice As Likely Than Himachal Voters To Choose NOTA
Compared to their counterparts in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat voters have emerged to be twice as likely to reject all candidates in the fray and opt for the NOTA (None of the above) button.
Over 5.5 lakh voters in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state opted for NOTA, which is about 1.8 per cent voters in Gujarat, as against 0.9 per cent in the hill state (over 33,000 voters).
Only Development Shall Win, Says PM Modi
Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi, PM Modi said, "You can celebrate as much as you want after BJP loses but don't hurt the country. This government is one that works only for development."
PM Modi claimed casteism was highly prevalent in Gujarat and it took workers like him 30 years to free Gujarat from its clutches. "But some people, out of hunger for power, in the last few months tried to sow the seeds of casteism. But people of Gujarat rejected them, for this they deserve congratulations. However, people of Gujarat will need to be more cautious about this from now on," he asserted.
He said BJP's continuous victory in Gujarat since 1989 is no less than world record. "Come, lets work hard to realise the dreams of those who fought for our freedom. We did not get to fight for India's independence but lets not waste the chance to fight for a great future for India."
He concluded his speech saying, "Only vikas (development) will win."
PM Narendra Modi is currently addressing a press conference in New Delhi's BJP headquarters. Referring to the opposition parties, he said, "They were worried when the exit poll results were declared. They were worried with BJP winning one more time."
BJP Chief Amit Shah is again addressing a press conference now at BJP headquarters in Delhi.
Referring to the twin win in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat today, as suggested by the poll trends, Amit Shah said, "Modi ji's Vikas (development) and Vijay (victory) yatra that started in 2014 has taken two more steps. In 2014, BJP had six chief ministers. Today, we have 14 chief ministers and 19 governments."
"Say Bharat Mata Ki Jai. Your voice should reach from the mountains of Himachal to the shores of Gujarat."
Bihar CM Congratulates PM Modi, Amit Shah
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for winning the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
"Congratulations to honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party for the victory in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. The Congress, which had claimed it would wrest power from the BJP in Gujarat, has ended up losing even Himachal Pradesh," Mr Kumar tweeted in Hindi.
The Bihar Chief Minister had earlier in the day spoke to PM Modi and Amit Shah over phone and extended greetings for the poll victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, PTI reported citing an official release.
Congratulations BJP on winning the elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Wishing them all the best for their forthcoming tenure in governance: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also talked about national development agenda of the BJP in a tweet, like BJP Chief Amit Shah and PM Modi, as he congratulated the party workers for the victory in Himachal Pradesh.
It's a symbol of people's confidence in Congress. Thankful that they made me victorious. We have never stepped back from serving people in Sujanpur & we will always serve them: Rajinder Rana, Congress candidate who won in Sujanpur against BJP's Prem Kumar Dhumal. Rajinder Rana is said to be PK Dhumal's protege.
Virbhadra Singh Blames Lack Of Campaigning For Congress Defeat
Six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh won his Arki seat with a margin of 6,051 votes today. He blamed the party's central leadership for lack of campaigning, while BJP ran an aggressive campaign in the state.
"Whatever are the shortcomings, I did my best during campaigning alone in the state and that too, within my resources," he said.
He refused to put the blame on Congress President Rahul Gandhi. "The elections were conducted under my leadership and I accept our defeat."
His son, Vikramaditya Singh, tasted his maiden victory in the assembly from Shimla (Rural).
Sad He Could Not Become CM The Seventh Time: Vikramaditya Singh
Vikramaditya Singh, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's son is leading in Shimla Rural. He said the party would introspect about the defeat.
"I'll always stand with govt, whichever party it might be of, & serve people. As a son I am sad we couldn't make it possible for him (Virbhadra Singh) to become the CM seventh time. We'll analyse our drawbacks in meeting," Vikramditya Singh told ANI.
We are sad about Prem Kumar Dhumal losing but we are happy that people of Himachal Pradesh voted for BJP: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
"Personal loss is not of much importance.The gain that victory has brought to state BJP is important. Thankful to people of the state for voting for BJP. In politics, sometimes one wins, sometimes one loses. I was not expecting to lose, I will do an analysis," PK Dhumal has been quoted as saying by ANI.
As BJP Chief Amit Shah addressed reporters in Delhi and said people of Himachal voted for development, the party's face in Himachal Pradesh, Prem Kumar Dhumal conceded defeat in his constituency Sujanpur.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's son Vikramaditya Singh also spoke on Mr Dhumal conceding defeat. "Hamirpur was once known as BJP stronghold and with him losing, Dhumal era is finishing now," he said.
Newly elected Congress President Rahul Gandhi congratulated the new governments in the new states. While Congress ran a lackadaisical campaign in Himachal Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi was actively involved in the Gujarat election campaign. The current trends suggest BJP is leading in 98 seats in Gujarat, while Congress and its allies are leading in 81 constituencies.
BJP Chief Amit Shah also thanked people of Himachal on Twitter.
People Reposed Faith In Modi: Amit Shah
Amit Shah is addressing a press conference in Delhi right now. "BJP is forming govt both in Himachal and Gujarat," he said. "The two-third lead in Himachal Pradesh shows that people there want to join PM Narendra Modi in the journey to development," he said.
In a clear attack at Congress, BJP Chief Mr Shah at a press conference said, "Dyansty, casteism and appeasement has lost to development."
"This win is due to hard work of the countless workers of the BJP and PM Modi's pro-people policies," the BJP Chief said and added, "People have reposed faith in PM Modi."
Referring to the poll trends suggesting BJP leads in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, BS Yeddyurappa, Karnataka BJP President said, "Victory in Gujarat and Himachal shows people have once again accepted PM Modi, his policies & Gujarat model. They've voted for development & against corrupt Congress. It'll have positive impact in Karnataka." Mr Yeddyurappa is BJP's chief ministerial candidate for Karnataka set to go to polls next year.
I accept the victory of BJP. I, being the chief minister, take full responsibility of our performance here. I hope Vikramaditya (Singh) keeps winning in future, like he won today: Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh
PM Modi, who has been a tireless campaigner during the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assembly elections, tweeted today and said the BJP would continue to work for the development of people.
As BJP continues to lead in the majority of seats in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, BJP National President Amit Shah arrived at the BJP headquarters in Delhi amid celebrations.
"The BJP came up with the politics of vishwas (trust) and vikas (development) for Gujarat and people responded to it positively. The Opposition tried to spread wrong messages against us, but we prevailed because of the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and national president Amit Shah," Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said today.
"It was the common man's trust that Modi can bring peace and prosperity. It is very important that even after 22 years, a party gets almost 50 per cent votes of the people and retains power...It is very significant," he was quoted as saying by the PTI. According to Mr Fadnavis, with Himachal Pradesh, the BJP has won the 19th state in the country.
Casteist agenda of Hardik, Jignesh, Alpesh Troika has helped Congress or cost it the election? Congress has to search for answers coolly after all the details come out...BJP...will celebrate but candidly analyse too: Ram Madav on BJP's lead in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly election
Congress Has Done Brilliantly: Renuka Chowdary
As BJP maintains lead in 46 seats in Himachal Pradesh, another Congress-ruled state seems to be slipping out of the grasp of grand old party today. Apart from Himachal Pradesh, Congress rules only in Karnataka and Punjab among the major states.
However, Congress leaders are happy that the party and its allies are maintaining lead in over 70 seats in Gujarat. "The Congress tally has gone up there, while the BJP's numbers have fallen. This is the start of Rahul Gandhi's political story," senior Congress leader Kamal Nath told
reporters outside Parliament.
His colleague, Renuka Chowdary, added: "Congress has done brilliantly. Our strength has increased. Morally, it has been a brilliant intervention of Rahul Gandhi."
Manohar Parrikar, Rajnath Singh Attack Rahul Gandhi
Trends suggest big win for the BJP in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. While party workers can't stop celebrating, senior BJP leaders are training their guns at newly-elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
"In his opening innings he scored zero" Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was quoted as saying by ANI.
Lashing out at the Congress President, Rajnath Singh said, "Abhi toh kuch nahi bolunga kyunki woh haal hi mein adhyaksh bane hain lekin 'sar mundwate hi ole pade."
Five BJP candidates have claimed victory in their respective assembly constituencies in Himachal Pradesh, including Suresh Bharadwaj who was contesting from Shimla. Mr Bharadwaj has been elected thrice from the constituency before.Two Congress candidates have been declared winners thus far.
After running a high-pitched campaign, BJP is likely to claim victory in over 40 assembly constituencies in the state as trends suggest.
BJP Leaders Celebrate Poll Trends
As trends suggested victory for BJP in Himachal Pradesh and Congress, BJP leaders hailed the win.
- People have rejected divisive politics of Congress, this win is due to the dynamic leadership of BJP and the hard work of BJP workers: Uttrar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
- It is a matter of happiness for us. This is the victory of development. Jo jeeta wohi sikandar. It is victory of every booth worker's hard work & the people who trusted development: Union Minister Smriti Irani
- There was only corruption during congress tenure. This has ended now. Congress Policy- 'Jhooth bolo, par zor se bolo' (Lie loudly): HRD minister Prakash Javadekar
BJP is poised to claim big win in Himachal Pradesh as it maintains lead in 45 seats. The ruling Congress is ahead in just 19 of 68 seats. The BJP workers in Himachal have been celebrating the lead over the rival grand old party.
Rahul Gandhi Has Accepted Responsibility As Congress President, Says Shiv Sena
BJP ally Shiv Sena today heaped praises on newly elected Congress President Rahul Gandhi while BJP struggled to win 150 plus seats in Gujarat today as earlier claimed by the party.
"Rahul Gandhi has accepted the responsibility as Congress president at a crucial stage. There should be no objection in wishing him all the best," said an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"Let Rahul Gandhi decide if he wishes to take the Congress party to the pinnacle of success or down the pit," the Marathi daily said.
Current Leads: BJP is leading in 46 seats and Congress is ahead in 20. Two hours after the counting of votes began today, stock markets stabilised a bit after a crash earlier on as available leads showed the BJP having an upper hand in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly polls, news agency PTI reported.
Poll Trends Indicate PM Modi's Popularity Intact: BJP
Counting is underway in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat today and BJP is leading in majority of seats in both the states. The poll trends have suggested PM Narendra Modi's popularity is intact, BJP asserted today.
"We have set a record in the history of the BJP by winning six consecutive polls: four assembly and two general elections.
"Anti-incumbency is not working there. The prime minister's popularity is intact. Amit Shah's strategy has worked," BJP vice president Shyam Jaju was quoted as saying by the news agency PTI.
The saffron party, however, said it would analyse the trends in detail later.
After trailing all day, BJP's chief ministerial candidate in Himachal Pradesh, PK Dhumal, is finally leading with 4,000 votes at the end of 11 out of 14 rounds.
The BJP is leading in 45 of 68 assembly seats, while Congress is ahead in 20 seats. Earlier in the day, as he arrived in parliament, Union Minister Rajnath Singh said, "We will get majority in both the states and form government."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flashed a victory sign after he arrived in parliament this morning as leads suggested victory for the BJP in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The parliament reconvened today after a weekend break.
"As per the latest trends, BJP is going to have a landslide victory. People have voted for change from the corrupt Congress government," Anurag Thakur, BJP parliamentarian and son of the party's Chief Ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal said today
as BJP leads in majority of seats in Himachal Pradesh.
Current Leads: BJP is set to win Himachal Pradesh as it is leads in 46 assembly constituencies. Congress is leading in just 18 of 68 assembly seats.
Current Leads: The BJP is leading in 45 seats in Himachal Pradesh while Congress is ahead in 19 assembly constituencies. Meanwhile BJP workers have already started celebrating as the party is maintaining a comfortable lead, both in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
Current Leads: BJP is inching closer to victory in Himachal Pradesh as it leads in 45 out of 68 assembly seats. The ruling Congress, meanwhile, is leading in just 19 seats. The state has been alternating between the Congress and the BJP since 1985.
The state has been alternating between the BJP and Congress since 1985. Going by the trend, this time it appears to be the turn of the BJP which is upbeat after the exit polls predicted a victory for the saffron party. The BJP ousted the Congress in 1990 and the Congress avenged defeat in 1993, according to a PTI report. The BJP formed the government with the help of Himachal Vikas Congress in 1998 and the Congress was back in power in 2003. The BJP made a comeback in 2007. Meanwhile, BJP workers are in a mood of celebration with victory close in sight.
Current Leads: BJP is leading in 44 seats, Congress is ahead in 21 seats. The results for the 2017 Himachal Pradesh election are likely to be declared by noon. As of now, BJP is maintaining a comfortable lead over the rival grand old party.
BJP is now maintaining a constant lead in Himachal Pradesh, however, in Sujanpur, BJP's chief ministerial candidate PK Dhumal is trailing.
Current Leads: BJP is currently leading in 43 assembly constituencies while Congress is leading in 22. Most exit polls had suggested the BJP's return to power with a majority. However, both parties had said they were confident of their victory.
More than two hours after the counting began, the chances of Congress winning Himachal again are bleak. However, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's son, Vikramaditya Singh, is optimistic. "I am sure in the end Congress will be victorious and form government in the state" he told ANI. He is contesting from Shimla Rural.
As BJP leads in majority of seats in Himachal Pradesh, State BJP spokesperson Ganesh Dutt told IANS, "We have crossed the half-way mark. This clearly indicates we are going to form the government in the state."
In Sujanpur, BJP's chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal is trailing by 1,709 votes where Rajinder Singh is leading. In Himachal, it's the battle of old guards - Prem Kumar Dhumal and Virbhadra Singh.
BJP is currently leading in 39 seats, while Congress is ahead in 23 seats as counting is under way for 2017 Himachal Pradesh election. A total of 337 candidates contested the November 9 election and A total of 37,83,580 people voted in the hill state, a record 75.28 per cent polling.
As the counting began in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, within the first hour, the benchmark BSE Sensex tanked as much as 867 points to breach below the psychological 33,000-mark while the NSE Nifty plunged 258 points in the opening session, according to a PTI report. The 30-share index crashed by 867.34 points, or 2.59 per cent, to 32,595.63, with all sectoral indices led by realty, IT, teck, power and and banking trading in the negative zone
with losses of up to 1.74 per cent.
Just In: Current leads suggest BJP is leading in 41 of 68 seats, while Congress is leading in 21 seats.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the star campaigners for Himachal Pradesh assembly election campaign last month. He had attacked Congress over corruption and accused it of siphoning off Rs. 57,000 crore meant as subsidy for the poor.
Just In: BJP is leading in 40 seats currently and Congress is ahead in 24. A party needs to cross the halfway mark of 35 seats to win Himachal Pradesh.
Leads: While Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier suggested that Himachal Pradesh election would be a one-sided battle, the initial leads countered his claim. The current leads suggest BJP is leading in 42 seats while Congress is ahead in 22.
Counting is under way in Himachal Pradesh and BJP is currently leading in 40 seats while BJP is ahead in 21 seats. Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's son Vikramaditya is leading by 1,316 votes in Shimla Rural, according to ANI.
While Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is leading from Arki, BJP's chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal is leading in Sujanpur.
After the early leads suggested a neck-to-neck fight, the current leads show BJP is leading in 38 seats, while Congress is ahead in 20 seats.
Just In: BJP is currently leading in 31 seats, however, Congress - which is currently ruling the state - is also giving a tough fight with a lead in 20 seats.
BJP is presently leading in 28 seats in the hilly state of Himachal, Congress is ahead in 19.
Just In: BJP is leading in 24 seats, while Congress is ahead in 19.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, 83, did not run a very aggressive election campaign in the state where the people have been alternating between Congress and the BJP. However, BJP, as expected was quite aggressive at the ground.
BJP is leading in 21 seats in Himachal Pradesh, while Congress leads in 14 seats.
"It's interesting to see how Himachal doesn't look like landslide for BJP right now," Dr Prannoy Roy on current leads.
BJP and Congress are giving each other a close fight in Himachal Pradesh. The BJP is leading in 18 seats currently and Congress is leading in 15 seats.
The leads suggest it's not going to be an easy win for either of the two parties. BJP is currently leading in 15 seats while Congress is ahead in 11 seats.
: BJP ahead in 15 seats, Congress is leading in 7 seats.
Just In: BJP Leading in 13 seats, while Congress is ahead in 3.
Current Leads: BJP is currently leading in 12 seats, Congress is leading in 4 seats.
BJP is currently leading in eight seats while Congress is leading in two seats.
Just In: Current Leads show BJP is leading in 3 seats while Congress is leading in 1 seat.
First Leads: Counting is underway in Himachal Pradesh. The first leads show BJP is leading in 2 seats and Congress is leading in 1 seat.
Here is a visual of the counting centre in Hamirpur.
The election in Himachal Pradesh has been a hyper-local election. While the BJP threw its entire might behind the election campaign, Congress did not have enough funds to run a proper one. BJP is confident of win and is already preparing to host a community meal in a hotel, according to NDTV reporter Sonal Mehrotra.
Breaking: Counting has begun for the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections 2017.
This iconic picture is from March 24, 1998, when Prem Kumar Dhumal became chief minister of Himachal Pradesh for the first time and PM Narendra Modi was the state convenor at that time. Mr Dhumal told NDTV's Sonal Mehrotra
that after his Himachal win, PM Modi became the chief minister of Gujarat for the first time. He said he and PM Modi still share a deep friendship.The question is if the BJP wins Himachal today, who will be given the credit for the victory- PM Narendra Modi or Prem Kumar Dhumal?
The counting for the Himachal Pradesh 2017 assembly election will take place at 42 centres across the state. The results are likely to be declared by noon.
All the voting centres have eight to ten feet high wire mesh barricades with separate entry passages for counting staff and counting agents, Chief Electoral Officer Pushpendra Rajput was quoted as saying by the news agency PTI. The counting will be videographed at all the centres.
Congress Will Win Himachal Pradesh Election: Virbhadra Singh
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has said Congress would win the Himachal Pradesh election despite the exit polls suggesting otherwise. He said he "could well read the mood of the people of the state", and added the actual results would be the opposite of the exit poll projections.
"I am confident that 'mission repeat' would be achieved and tall claims made by the BJP would be proved wrong," Mr Singh suggested. The chief minister further mentioned he had been to every single pocket in the state during the election campaign and affirmed the Congress is in a strong position.
"Congress party has always fought on the issue of development and in the last five years, the state has seen rapid development," he asserted
In the 2017 Himachal Pradesh assembly election, a total of 337 candidates contested in 68 assembly constituencies. To form government in the state, a party needs 35 seats or more to cross the halfway mark. In 2012 assembly election, the Congress won 36 seats claiming victory, while the BJP won 26.
During the Himachal Pradesh election 2017 campaign, the BJP focused on the corruption charges Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh faces. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his election speeches, attacked the grand old party for allowing "five monsters" to flourish in the state - mining, forest, tender, transfer and drugs mafias.
Himachal Pradesh has seen swapping of power between the rivals - the BJP and Congress. Both BJP's Prem Dhumal and Congress' Virbhadra Singh, popularly known as "Raja Sahib
" in the state owing to his royal roots, have mass appeal. Mr Dhumal, the son of an army man, and a professor who still teaches, is considered the only challenger to the incumbent chief minister.
A total of 2,820 counting staff has been deployed for today's exercise. This includes counting supervisors, counting assistants and micro observers. Three-tier security arrangements have been made at all the counting centres, Chief Electoral Officer, Pushpender Rajput said.
The BJP is confident of winning over 50 seats in the 68-member house."We discussed the post-poll situation after getting the feedback from the field and also the reports of undercutting in some places but reached the conclusion that party would form a stable government and win more than 50 seats in the 68 member house," news agency PTI had quoted party chief Satpal Singh Satti as saying as he shared party's internal assessment.