Verdict: BJP CM face loses face

Verdict: BJP CM face loses face

The BJP romped home to victory in Himachal Pradesh on Monday with a clear majority but lost face with the defeat of its chief ministerial candidate and  former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

The BJP raised its tally winning 44 seats this time around, up by 18 since last elections. The Congress settled with 21 seats, down by fifteen seats since 2012.

Three other candidates won their seats in the elections. No party in power has repeated office in the state, at least in recent electoral history. This time was no exception either.

With Dhumal losing the battle to his former aide and ex-media advisor Rajinder Rana of the Congress, the BJP is now mulling over various options, including Dhumal's replacement, to lead the government.  

The hill state  broke into celebrations with BJP workers singing  songs  praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The workers came out onto the streets in the winter chill and distributed sweets and danced to the beat of the drums.

Outgoing chief minister Virbhadra Singh won his new Assembly seat from Arki in Solan. His son Virkramaditya Singh, too, won his debut elections from the Shimla Rural seat that was vacated by his father.  

The BJP suffered another setback with the party's state president Satpal Satti, too, losing his seat.

The only other noteworthy party to show its footprints was the CPI(M) whose candidate Rakesh Sangha won from  the Congress' "safe" seat-Thoeg - represented by 90-year old Congress veteran Vidya Stokes, by a massive margin.

The Theog seat was the epicentre of a massive protest after the tragic rape and brutal murder of a teenage girl ahead of elections. The Congress was reduced to the third slot from this "safe" seat.

The BJP's gains in voter percentage were sizable -   up from 38.47% in 2012 to over 48.6% this time around.

Shimla (Urban) went to the BJP. The Congress' vote share fell to 42%.

Dhumal's defeat from a seat which he did not represent earlier will be a matter of discussion in power circles.

The BJP gained a huge advantage after Dhumal was announced the  chief ministerial face by Amit Shah. But he losing out on his own seat brings out the contradiction.

Veteran Congress leaders, including Cabinet minister Kaul Singh Thakur, his debutant daughter Champa Thakur, too, lost. Virbhadra's bête noire and state Congress chief Sukhwinder Sukhu won his seat from Naudaun.  




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