After enduring back-to-back setbacks and electoral debacles, the Congress party is embracing a moment of breather as it is witnessing a big turning point in Himachal Pradesh. The BJP-ruling hilly state went to the polls on November 12 and the votes are being counted on Thursday - December 8. While the exit polls have predicted a hung assembly in the state, the current trend suggests that Congress could possibly oust the BJP reign.
Himachal Pradesh has 68 assembly seats and the party which crosses the majority mark of 35 seats will form the government. During the election, the state has seen a record-voter turnout at 75.6% and it was a direct clash between the BJP and Congress with a least impact from Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party. The votes were counted on Thursday and the early trend indicated that the race is down to the wire.
Both the rivals BJP and Congress exhibited a tight fight and an unprecedented close-to-call race made national headlines. While it was predicted that whichever party wins, the government will be formed only with the support of the independent candidates, the latest electoral chart shows that the Congress will most likely cross the finish line as the single largest party.
According to the Election Commission data, Congress has officially won in 30 seats and has been leading in ten seats by the time of writing this content. It is just six seats away from hitting the majority mark while BJP has won 17 seats. Aam Aadmi Party is out of the race while three independent candidates have won. In what has become a big relief to the BJP, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has won from the Seraj constituency in a huge margin for the sixth time.
Jai Ram Thakur has secured 53,562 votes while his immediate contender Chet Ram of Congress has bagged 15,379 votes. In the 2017 assembly polls, BJP has won 44 seats and formed the government while the Congress ended up securing 21 seats. If Congress wins this election, it will align to the state's existing political tradition that no party has won a consecutive term.