BJP vs Congress: A close to call race in Himachal Pradesh...Who's leading?

The hilly state of Himachal Pradesh is at top of the headlines across the nation, thanks to its close-to-call election race between the arch-nemesis BJP and Congress. The BJP-ruling state went to the single-phased election on November 12 and the votes are being counted on Thursday - December 8. As the clock is ticking to the final results, the state is displaying what has already been predicted - a hung assembly. 

Himachal Pradesh has 68 assembly seats and the party which gets the majority mark of 35 would form a government. While the BJP holds the edge in parallel race between the two parties in Gujarat, the track is rigid in Himachal Pradesh that neither of the parties are showing a good majority. The vote counting in Himachal Pradesh began on Thursday morning and since the beginning, BJP and Congress are facing a tight fight to takeover the baton of reign. 

While the third front led by Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), it didn't show up as a competitive contender as the exit polls predicted that AAP will win zero seats in Himachal Pradesh. The early trend in Himachal Pradesh indicates that whichever party comes to power, the government can be formed only with the support of independent candidates. 

By the time of writing this content, Congress is leading in 33 seats while BJP is leading in 32 seats. Both the rivals are too close to the majority mark and while BJP will most likely win in Gujarat, it has been surrounded with tensions from Himachal Pradesh at a high time when the party hoped for a landslide victory to retain the reign and to have a significant boost to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. 

As per the data of the Election Commission that was released a short while ago, BJP and Congress are leading in 32 seats each in Himachal Pradesh while the independent candidates are leading in four seats. AAP is yet to open its account. Himachal Pradesh Congress Chief Pratibha Singh said that her party is expecting above 40 seats.

She said, "We are expecting 40 seats, it can more than 42 and can go up to 45 and above. I am not exaggerating, it could be less than this but it is clear that we are forming the government. This is the response from the people. I visited the areas and I have seen the response from people and what they want is very clear." In the 2017 polls, BJP has won 44 seats and formed a government while Congress ended up bagging 21 seats.