New Delhi: Exit polls for the 2017 Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, including NDTV's poll of exit polls, have shown that Prem Kumar Dhumal from the BJP will be victorious by a huge margin. Mr Dhumal's victory in the Himachal Pradesh polls would mean that his rival Virbhadra Singh from the Congress, who is the current Chief Minister of the state, will be on his way out. While the final tally for the Himachal Pradesh polls will be revealed on Monday, current estimates show that the BJP would clinch 47 seats out of a total 68 seats, while the Congress would have to settle for a paltry 20 seats.
Himachal Pradesh has set itself apart from other states by having alternating governments between the BJP and the Congress for 24 years. This unique power tussle between the BJP and Congress governments assumed significance because of the rivalry between Mr Dhumal and Mr Singh, both charismatic leaders of their respective parties.
Mr Singh became the Chief Minister of the state in 1993 and the rivalry between them kicked off ever since. The rivalry does not show signs of stopping as the sons of both Mr Dhumal and Mr Singh, have made their respective entries into politics with the 2017 elections.
For Himachal Pradesh, a political party needs 35 seats or more in order to cross the halfway mark and form the government. The previous assembly elections in 2012 had been a close contest with the Congress winning 36 seats while the BJP had won 26 seats.
Thus, the predictions of the BJP winning in the 2017 Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, if they translate into reality, are sure to be a huge blow to the Congress and to Mr Singh, who is and has been the face of the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.
The exit poll estimates assume even more importance as voter turnout on November 9, the polling day, was 74 per cent.
Along with the prediction from the exit polls and NDTV's poll of exit polls show the BJP retaining Gujarat, the results from Himachal Pradesh could be a double blow to the Congress and serve as a boost to the BJP.
Counting of the votes in Himachal Pradesh will begin at 8 am on Monday and the results can be tracked here, while NDTV's live coverage of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections can be seen here.