Wednesday, 1 February, 2023

Himachal Pradesh Polls

Congress wins 40 seats to get majority

SHIMLA: India’s Congress party got an absolute majority by winning 40 seats in Himachal Pradesh, six seats more than the half-way mark of 34 in the 68-member House, reducing the outgoing BJP legislators from 44 to 25 seats.

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party failed to open its account, according to reports published by Indian Media on Thursday.

However, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Thursday accepted defeat in the hill state even as votes were being counted.

Amid fears of poaching by the BJP, the Congress will hold a meeting of all its newly-elected MLAs in Himachal Pradesh in Chandigarh after declaration of results on Thursday.

The meet likely to pass resolution authorising the Congress president to elect the CLP leader, said AICC in charge of state Rajeev Shukla.

Though Congress has managed to keep the "rivaj (tradition)" of alternate governments in the hill state alive, it now faces the twin task of guarding its MLAs and choosing its new chief minister.

Pratibha Singh, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, Mukesh Agnihotri, Vikramaditya Singh are aspirants. Two aspirants, Asha Kumari and Kaul Singh Thakur have lost the elections. Himachal Pradesh has not returned any incumbent government to power in the last nearly four decades.

Meanwhile, Congress' party leaders thanked the people of state for reposing faith in it and giving a clear mandate. The Congress now will be in power in three states on its own and in as many others -- Jharkhand, Bihar, Tamil Nadu -- in alliance.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge congratulated the people of Himachal and credited them and party leaders for the victory of his party. He said Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra has also helped in this win and thanked former Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her support in these elections. He said it is a long journey ahead and "we will all sit together and discuss the way forward".

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, "Heartfelt thanks to the people of Himachal Pradesh for this decisive victory. Hearty congratulations to all Congress workers and leaders. Your hard work and dedication are truly behind this victory," he said in a tweet in Hindi.

"I assure you again, every promise made to the public will be fulfilled at the earliest," Gandhi added.

About 76.44 per cent of voters had exercised their franchise in the assembly polls held on November 12.

A total of 412 candidates, including 24 women and 99 independents, are in the fray.

In terms of vote share in Himachal, Congress is only marginally ahead of the BJP having 43.90 per cent of votes compared to 42.99 per cent of its arch-rival. Others have garnered a 10.4 per cent vote share in the hill state.