At least 32-40 seats for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and 25-34 seats for the Congress — this is what the pollsters have predicted for Himachal Pradesh, hinting at a neck-and-neck fight in the hill state, which voted on November 12. Winning 35 of the 68 seats is a must to form a government in the state.
According to P-MARQ, the BJP could win 34-39 seats, the Congress, 28-33, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 0-1 and others 1-4. Exit poll results by ETG predicted 38 seats for the BJP, 28 for the Congress, 0 for AAP and 2 for others. According to Jan Ki Baat, the BJP could win 32-40 seats, 27-34 seats for the Congress, AAP 0 and 1 for others. Axis My India has predicted 24-34 seats for the BJP, 30-40 for the Congress, 0 for AAP and 4-8 for others.
ALSO READ | Exit poll results HERE
NewsX exit polls have predicted 32-40 seats for the BJP, 27-34 for the Congress, 0 for AAP and 1-2 for others. According to BARC, the BJP could win 35-40 seats, Congress 20-25, AAP 0-3 and others 1-5. Matrize has predicted 35-40 seats for the BJP, 26-31 for the Congress, 0 for AAP and 0-3 for others.
The voting percentage was 75.6%, and over 55 lakh voters were eligible.
THE RIVAZ IN THE STATE
One of the foremost trends of Himachal is its ‘anti-incumbency’ rivaz. Since 1985, the ‘Devbhoomi’ has not repeated any government.
Himachal Pradesh is a swing state that has alternated between the BJP and the Congress for the past three decades. In 1985, Congress won 58 of 68 Assembly seats while the BJP got seven. Virbhadra Singh was appointed as the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. Five years after the landslide victory, Congress failed to secure the second term with the BJP winning 46 seats in the 1990 polls. BJP’s Shanta Kumar succeeded Virbhadra Singh. However, his tenure could not last five years as the President’s rule was imposed in 1992 in the aftermath of Babri demolition.
When the Assembly elections were held in 1993, the Congress returned to power winning 52 seats and Virbhadra Singh came back to power for a second term as chief minister.
The Congress and the BJP won 31 seats each in the 1998 polls but the saffron party formed the government with the help of Himachal Vikas Congress. Prem Kumar Dhumal was named chief minister.
The same pattern continued in 2003 polls when Congress returned to power winning 43 seats and Virbhadra Singh was named chief minister. The BJP seized the power again bagging 41 seats in 2007 election. In 2012, Congress formed the government with 36 MLAs while the BJP got two-thirds majority in 2017 election winning 44 seats.
This time, the Congress campaigned on the promise of restoring the ‘Old Pension Scheme’ (OPS) and providing Rs 1,500 per month in aid to women as soon as it takes power, while the BJP was counting on female voters’ support and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma to cut its losses in the state, where anti-incumbency has claimed every government so far.
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