Congress wins Himachal, BJP looks for scapegoats
Congress got majority in Himachal Pradesh and led in Meghalaya while CPM triumphed in Tripura.Updated: Mar 02, 2003 22:42 IST
The Congress exorcised the ghosts of Gujarat on Saturday, racing to a spectacular triumph in Himachal Pradesh. A shocked BJP went into a huddle to ponder what went wrong in a state with a 98 per cent Hindu population.
Falling just short of two-third majority, the Congress was placed in a position to cobble a coalition in Meghalaya but lost power in Nagaland.
As many as 15 of the Dhumal government's 20 ministers have lost their seats. Till late in the evening, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani was huddling with the party's Gujarat hero Narendra Modi and BJP chief Venkaiah Naidu, dissecting the disaster.
Total seats: 68
Elections held: 65
Result declared: 65
Himachal Vikas Congress: 01
Lok Janshakti Party: 01
Total seats : 60
Counting held : 57
Result declared : 54
Nagaland Peoples Front: 18
Total seats: 60
Results declared: 59 (result for one seat withheld)
Left Front: 40
Cong-INPT combine: 19
Total seats: 60
Seats declared: 60
Within hours of the defeat, the unhappiness in the party with the management of the poll was out in the open.
The Dhumal ministry had failed to deliver on its promises, and the people had shown their anger, said union minister Shanta Kumar, a critic of the ousted chief minister.
With the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi polls barely seven months away, those were not the words the BJP would have liked to hear.
Hat trick by CPI-M in Tripura
In Tripura, the ruling Left Front, which has been in the government since 1992, maintained its stranglehold securing 40 seats while the opposition Congress and its new found ally INPT together managed 19 seats each of the 59 seats declared so far.
CPI-M, the major partner in Tripura's ruling Left Front, secured a clear majority on its own winning 37 seats in the 60-member House while its partners RSP won two and CPI one.
Anti-incumbency wave apparent
An anti-incumbency wave appeared to have delivered the Himachal shock for BJP in the hill state where attempts by Hindutva's latest icon Narendra Modi to weave his Gujarat magic failed. Many BJP stalwarts, including Speaker Gulabchand Thakur, state unit president Jaikishen Sharma and 15 ministers were humbled.
Probable Congress chief ministerial candidate Virbhadra Singh won handsomely with over 17,000 votes margin in Rohroo. Chief Minister P K Dhumal retained his Bamsan seat.
An elated Congress President Sonia Gandhi said the results have nailed BJP's propaganda of a "so called" Hindutva wave throughout the country. BJP president M Venkiah Naidu said dissidents and rebels were to be blamed for the defeat.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minster L K Advani will meet other party leaders on Sunday to analyse the rout.
Nagaland headed for a hung Assembly, BJP opens account
Nagaland is heading for a hung assembly as no party is likely to cross the 25-seat mark with the ruling Congress facing a rout in the party stronghold of Kohima and Phek district at the hands of its arch rival Nagaland Peoples Front, which wrested 17 seats among the 53 results declared so far.
Of the results declared so far the Congress got 20 while NPF secured 17 and BJP six.
The BJP won an unprecedented three seats in Christian-majority Nagaland despite a campaign against it by the influential Church.
Jubilant party leaders in the Nagaland capital Kohima attributed it to the peace talks initiated with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) by the Central government.
"It is a victory for the Vajpayee government whose sincere efforts at bringing back peace to Nagaland has paid dividends," V Satish, the BJP in-charge of the northeastern states, said over telephone from Dimapur in Nagaland.
This is the first time the BJP has won seats in elections in Nagaland, a state with 90 percent Christian population.
Fractured verdict in Meghalaya, Cong single largest party
In Meghalaya, the Congress, which did not have formal alliance with its coalition partners in outgoing government, was better placed to form a government having emerged as the single largest party with 22 seats in a House of 60.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi indicated that the party may tie up with NCP and others including UDP, MDP and HSPDP to form a government. Together these parties have bagged 51 seats. Independents have secured five seats while BJP and KHNAM two each.
Opposition BJP, which had three members in the assembly, managed to win only two seats, while ally Garo National Council has lost its lone seat.
First Published: Mar 01, 2003 11:51 IST