Uttarakhand appeared set on Saturday to stick to its tradition of not re-electing the party in power as the BJP took a clear lead over the ruling Congress as early trends from counting of votes in the hill state showed.
Initial trends showed the BJP leading in 44 seats, while the Congress was ahead in 22. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was ahead in just 2 seats. The early trends matched exit poll predictions which showed a BJP win.
If the final results match the trends, it could be the biggest win for any political party in the state where the vote share difference between Congress and BJP was less than two percentage points in 2012.
Trends show a BJP sweep in the hill regions of Uttarakhand while the Congress has managed a few seats in the plains.
Among those who were trailing included chief minister Harish Rawat from Haridwar rural and Kicha --- the two seats he is contesting from.
Those leading included state Congress president Kishore Upadhayay from Sahapur in Dehradun, Trivendra Singh Rawat of BJP from Doiwala, Rita Khandhuri, daughter of former CM B C Khanduri from Yamkeshwar and Satpal Maharaj from Chaubattakhal.
Chief minister Harish Rawat was the Congress’ face whereas the BJP projected the work of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The next challenge for the BJP would be finalising the chief minister candidate. Party president Amit Shah has already announced that the CM would be from the elected legislators.
Watch: Analysis on overall counting trends
Trivendra Singh Rawat is said to be front runner along with former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Satpal Maharaj.
The Congress leaders attributed the likely loss due to poor organisational work, infighting and delay in ticket distribution. Many also found fault in Rawat going on announcement spree without much developmental work on ground.