Himachal polls: BJP, Congress to go into huddle ahead of December 8 results

Updated on Nov 30, 2022 01:16 AM IST

BJP’s official candidates will meet in Dharamshala on December 4 and the Congress will hold a virtual meeting on December 2, ahead of the poll results on December 8

Ahead of the polls, BJP’s campaign comprised 157 rallies across Himachal Pradesh. Among these, four were addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI File Photo)
Ahead of the polls, BJP’s campaign comprised 157 rallies across Himachal Pradesh. Among these, four were addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI File Photo)
By, Shimla

With less than 10 days left for the assembly election results, wary of voters’ mood, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and challenger Congress will hold meetings in Shimla to assess the outcome of polls to draw further strategies for government formation.

BJP’s official candidates will huddle in Dharamshala on December 4 and the Congress will hold a virtual meeting on December 2, ahead of the poll results on December 8. The Election Commission has imposed a ban on exit polls till December 5.

While the BJP is hoping to buck the trend of alternate governments in the hill state, the elections are being seen as a battle for survival for the Congress.

For decades, Himachal Pradesh has never seen the BJP or the Congress forming consecutive governments and this time, the Aam Aadmi Party has also forayed into the electoral fray in Himachal for the first time to challenge the bi-polar politics.

In the 2017 assembly polls, the BJP had bagged 44 seats and the Congress 21 in the 68-member assembly, with the ruling party getting a vote share of 48.8 % and the opposition Congress party 41.7 %.

Power-packed campaign by BJP

This year, 412 candidates contested the polls. The BJP brought in its bigwigs for a power-packed, high-decibel campaign that comprised 157 rallies across the state. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the BJP’s aggressive campaign by addressing four election meetings, Union home minister Amit Shah addressed 11 rallies and party chief JP Nadda addressed 20 gatherings.

Union minister Rajnath Singh also attended five gatherings and Smriti Irani nine. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath addressed 16 rallies and Union information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur 30.

“Our party delivered more than what was promised in the previous manifesto. We have worked hard in the past five years. Not even the pandemic could hamper developmental works. We are hopeful of retaining the government,” said BJP state president Suresh Kashyap.

HP leaders led Congress’ campaign

The Congress relied mostly on its Himachal leaders, with AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and Rajasthan’s deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot at the forefront of the campaign.

AICC in-charge for Himachal, Rajeev Shukla, monitored the campaign, while party’s president Mallikarjun Kharge and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot made brief visits to the state.

Congress’ state party chief Pratibha Singh, campaign committee head Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri campaigned rigorously in the state.

The party last won in 2012, bagging 36 seats and the BJP could get only 26.

“Congress’ central leaders will hold a virtual meeting with booth-level workers on December 2 to assess the expected outcome,” said party’s vice-president and chief spokesman Naresh Chauhan.

Rebels may split votes

Both parties are anticipating a neck-and-neck fight, with rebellion hampering their winning prospects.

The ruling BJP had 21 rebels in the fray, with about half a dozen of them having the potential to swing the election results, while the Congress saw seven crucial leaders walking out, hitting the prospects of its official candidates.

What has added to the anxiety of both parties is that constituencies where the rebels are in the fray recorded heavy polling. As many as six independent candidates had made it to the assembly in the 2003 elections.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, February 09, 2023
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals