As Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) heaped a humiliating defeat on Congress party in Himachal Pradesh, winning all the four parliamentary seats, the election verdict in the state is seen as the beginning of new trouble for Virbhadra Singh-led government.
As electors voted decisively, breaking with the tradition that people in Himachal Pradesh mostly favoured the party ruling the state, Congress defeat is an outburst against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and the performance of state Congress government in the past one-and-half years.
However, the poll outcome is being considered as a defeat of chief minister Virbhadra Singh more than the party's loss. Being the lone mass leader of party in the hill state, he had say in the ticket allotment. Apparently Virbhadra has been shouldered responsibility to sail through the party candidates amid Modi wave.
Known for his tireless campaigning ,Virbhadra Singh, who singlehandedly had brought the Congress into power in the state in 2012 assembly election, criss-crossed the length and breadth of four parliamentary segments this election too.
In spite, the government putting all its might, Congress suffered a crushing defeat even in Mandi where his wife Pratibha Singh was seeking re-election. It is a clear reflection that the charisma and popularity of octogenarian leader didn't work this time.
With most of his trusted lieutenants failing to secure a lead for party candidates in their respective assembly segments, the electoral reversal could now increase trouble for Virbhadra as he is already facing serious allegations of corruption.
The dissidents who were until now covertly running an operation seeking leadership change have come in the open. This all began with the resignation of Ghumarwin legislator Rajesh Dharamani from the post of chief parliamentary secretary.
Now, the poll outcome has given Virbhadra's detractors a chance to hit him. The toughest challenge for Virbhadra would be to save his government that has only one seat more than the required number in the state assembly. If due to some circumstances his government is reduced to minority, BJP will make every possible effort to oust the Congress from power.