SHIMLA (TIP): The verdict is out and theCongress under the leadership of VirbhadraSingh on December 20 wrested power inHimachal Pradesh by getting an absolutemajority in the state Assembly.The Congress has won 36 out of the total68 seats, while the ruling BJP has managedto get only 26. Others have won six seats.Congress veteran and five-time chiefminister Virbhadra Singh, who led theparty’s campaign in the state, was elected bya record margin of 20,000 votes.”We are forming the next government,” hetriumphantly told the media.Earlier, state Chief Minister and BJPleader PK Dhumal on December 20 concededdefeat and said “we need to analyse whatwent wrong.”Congress’ gamble of dispatchingVirbhadra Singh to Himachal Pradesh tolead the Assembly Elections campaign haspaid off. The Congress veteran was sent tothe hilly state at a time when he was facingcorruption charges against him, but theelection results show that Virbhdara stillholds his fort in his home town.
‘Sonia to decide on CM candidate’
After winning the elections Virbhadrasaid that he had put in his “best efforts” inthe polls and it was for Sonia Gandhi todecide the party’s chief minister.”I had been given the brief to bring theparty back to power and for that I had put inmy best efforts. It is for our national leaderSonia Gandhi to decide who will become theChief Minister,” Singh said while speakingto reporters.
BJP accepts defeat
BJP leader PK Dhumal won from theHamirpur seat defeating his nearestCongress rival Narinder Thakur by a marginof over 9,500 votes.Reacting to election debacle, Dhumalfurther underlined the “need to analyse whatwent wrong”. “The voters form the kind ofgovernment that they want, and best wishesto the new government,” Dhumal said.Senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar said theparty accepted the poll verdict.”We accept the verdict. All people in theBJP had fought elections together. The peopledid not vote for us,” Shanta Kumar, a formerHimachal Pradesh chief minister, toldreporters.
Leaders who won and lost
The four independents who won theelections are: Congress rebel KirneshJung from Paonta Sahib, Balbir SinghVerma (Chopal) as well as BJP rebelsPawan Kajal (Kangra) and Rajinder Singh(Sujanpur).
Congress candidate Rakesh Kalia wonGagret seat in Una district defeatingSushil Kalia (BJP).
BJP has won Shillai seat of Sirmaurdistrict where its candidate Baldev Tomardefeated Congress’ HarshvardhanChauhan
Congress candidate Sohan Lal Thakur haswon Sundernagar seat.
Congress leader Vidya won Theog.
BJP leader Dr Rajiv Bindal bagged Nahanseat.
Congres leader Kishori Lal won Baijnathseat.
Congress’s Asha Kumari won Dalhousie.
Congress’ Sudhir Sharma won fromDharamshala.
BJP’s Rikhiram Kaundal won fromJhanduta.
Congress’ Brij Bihari Lal Butail wonPalampur.
BJP’s Bikram Singh Jaryal won fromAryal Bhattiyat.
Congress’ G S Bali won from Nagrota.
BJP’s Govind Singh Thakur won fromManali.
BJP’s Gulab Singh Thakur baggedJogindernagar seat.
BJP’s Ishwar Dass Dhiman won fromBhoranj.
Congress’ Kaul Singh won from Darang.BJP’s Ravinder Singh won from Dehra.
BJP’s Satpal Singh Satti won from Una.
Congress’ Sushir Sharma won fromDharamshala.
Congress’ Sujan Singh Pathania won fromFatehpur.
BJP’s Suresh Bhardwaj won from Shimla.
Nearly 75 percent of the 4.6 millionelectorate voted on November 4. Officialssaid the state received only 2,800 postalballots.
In 2007, the BJP won 41 seats, theCongress 23, the Bahujan Samaj Party oneseat and independents three seats.