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BJP retains Bhoranj in Himachal Pradesh for seventh time, wins by 8,290 votes

The victory will boost the BJP’s campaign in the run-up to the assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh later this year.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2017 13:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Shimla, Hindustan Times
Himachal bypolls,Bhoranj,BJP
Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal (L) and chief minister Virbhadra Singh.(HT File)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retained its bastion of Bhoranj in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday for the seventh time by winning the bypoll by 8,290 votes.

The Election Commission said the BJP claimed four seats, wresting Delhi’s Rajouri Garden from the Aam Aadmi Party, and the Congress was leading in 2 out of 10 assembly constituencies across 8 states where by-elections were held on Sunday.

In Himachal, it was a high-stakes battle for both the BJP and the Congress, particularly for chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his predecessor from the BJP, Prem Kumar Dhumal.

The victory will boost the BJP’s campaign in the run-up to the assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh later this year, while the Congress will have to look for reasons behind the defeat.

BJP candidate Anil Dhiman, the son of former legislator Ishwar Dass Dhiman, got 24,334 votes, while Congress candidate Promila Devi got 16,044 votes. Independent candidates Pawan Kumar Chandel got 4,630 votes and Ramesh Dogra 974 votes, and Kusum Azad 403 votes.

There were 263 voters who opted for the none of the above (NOTA) option.

Pawan Kumar is a BJP rebel, while Dogra is a Congress detractor. Both contested independently but failed to make any significant difference to the parties.

The seat fell vacant following the death of BJP stalwart and former minister ID Dhiman.

BJP on sure footing

The BJP was confident of retaining its long-held citadel of Bhoranj, which was formerly known as Mewa. Party veteran ID Dhiman was elected 6 times from the constituency in 1990, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2012. After his death, the BJP relied on his son, Anil Dhiman.

The Congress first announced the candidature of local leader Prem Kaushal and later fielded three-time zila parishad member Promila Devi in the electorate where women outnumber men.

The Congress also kept in mind the caste and regional factors while allotting the ticket but thwy did not work for the party.

First Published: Apr 13, 2017 13:59 IST