How Rebels Were A Factor In BJP's Defeat In Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh election: The setback for the BJP is mainly due to party rebels who contested in 21 of the 68 seats. The BJP lost at least nine seats where the rebels contested

The BJP lost many seats in Himachal due to rebels cutting into the votes

Shimla:

The Congress has returned to power in Himachal Pradesh, proving once again the state's decades-old 'tradition' of voting out a government after a single term.

The BJP did try very hard to break this cyclical pattern. Party chief JP Nadda held some 50 rallies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held five rallies, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held 20 rallies and union minister Anurag Thakur even shed tears.

But the BJP lost. Enter the rebels.

The setback for the BJP is mainly due to party rebels who contested in 21 of the 68 seats. The BJP lost at least nine seats where the rebels contested.

Two of the rebels won. First is Hoshiyar Singh from Dehra, who left the BJP after not getting a ticket. He won by some 14,000 votes. The other is KL Thakur, who won from Nalagarh.

There are many other seats where the BJP lost due to the rebels cutting into the votes.

For example, in Kinnaur, the Congress's Jagat Singh Negi won, while the BJP rebel Tejwant Singh Negi cut into BJP votes, eventually pushing down the numbers for his former party.

Another example is Indora, where the Congress's Malender Rajan won. The BJP rebel here, Manohar Dhiman, took 4,422 votes, taking away from what the BJP would have got had he not rebelled.

The votes the rebels got would have ideally gone to the BJP. In a state where each constituency has less than one lakh total votes on average, minor swings can mean a lot.

Adding to the rebel problem was three factions at play in the BJP. One was led by Mr Nadda, another by Mr Thakur, and the third by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur.

The party declared Jairam Thakur as its face in the state, but Anurag Thakur was seen as a potential challenger and even shed a tear publicly "in praise of the hard work" of his father, former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who was not given the ticket, though Mr Dhumal and the party insisted he had chosen to retire. Mr Dhumal was seen as a potential wingman if the BJP needed to woo the rebels.

In all, the Congress won 40 seats, a comfortable majority, with the BJP at 25. The Aam Aadmi Party didn't win a single seat.

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