Independents winners could play crucial role in Himachal
Shimla: The fate of Himachal Pradesh Assembly’s 68 seats was sealed on November 12. Most of the exit polls have now given an upper hand to the BJP, barring the India Today-Axis My India survey which has predicted a very close contest with the Congress. The India Today poll projected the BJP could win 24-34 seats while the Congress could win 30-40. While the AAP is drawing a blank in the state, according to the poll pundits, the Independents or the rebels could hold the key, with projections of them winning four to eight seats.
Traditionally, the people of the state have voted against the sitting government. In 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 44 seats in the 68-member assembly, while Congress bagged 21.
Himachal Pradesh has so far not seen a hung assembly. In this election, however, a slim margin means that the key to the hill state could be through the rebels or the Independents. In the given scenario, both the Congress and the BJP are keeping a close watch on their rebel candidates who contested as “Independents”.
“Many of the exit polls show the BJP forming a government while some show a neck-and-neck fight in a few seats. We should wait till December 8. According to our analysis, there’s a complete possibility of the BJP comfortably forming the govt.,” Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said.
The state recorded around 74.54% voter turnout, per official Election Commission data.
While the BJP faced an uphill task because of internal rebellion, with several of them hitting out at the party leadership, many within cited poor ticket distribution to issues like the Old Pension Scheme.
In an all-out effort, the saffron party tried to quell the rebellion by reaching out to the rebel candidates. The Congress also faced a rebellion but managed to keep its flock together. However, it took a call not to announce the chief ministerial face, but with the likes of Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu throwing his hat in the ring to be the next chief minister if the Congress wins, there seems to be a division in the party.
For Himachal, it has been a long wait as polling was held on November 12, and now the results will be declared on December 8.