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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: After record polling in Himachal Pradesh, both Congress and BJP hopeful of victory

Himachal Pradesh witnessed 72.25% polling, surpassing the previous highest turnout of 65.3% in 1998, when the Congress won the Shimla seat and the BJP emerged victorious in Mandi, Kangra and Hamirpur.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 21, 2019 11:15 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
lok sabha elections 2019,lok sabha polls in himachal pradesh,LS voting percentage in Himachal
EVMs and VVPATs brought to Lahaul and Spiti district headquarters on a Border Security Force (BSF) helicopter from Tashigang, world's highest polling station on Monday, May 20, 2019.(ANI)

A day after Himachal Pradesh registered a record turnout during Lok Sabha polls on Sunday, strategist of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, the two main political parties in the state, went into huddle to analyse the voting trend and post-poll projections.

The state witnessed 72.25% polling, surpassing the previous highest turnout of 65.3% in 1998, when the Congress won the Shimla seat and the BJP emerged victorious in Mandi, Kangra and Hamirpur.

The votes will be counted on May 23 and the two parties exuded confidence about the result, which both claimed would be in their favour.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had won all the four seats in the state.

The BJP has convened meeting of its in-charges for the four parliamentary constituencies to discuss the voting trend and exit poll predictions which indicated another term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We are assessing the situation on the ground and also gathering reports from block units,” said party’s state general secretary Chander Mohan Thakur .

“Exit polls reflect the popularity of Modi and his vision,” said chief minister Jai Ram Thakur.

“Exit polls have proved that Modi’s tenure has overshadowed 60-year regime of the Congress,” he added. Thakur, who was camping in Kangra after the polling concluded on Sunday, made an unscheduled visit to New Delhi. It is likely that Thakur will apprise the party high command about polling trend in Himachal Pradesh.

State BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti expressed the hope that the party would win all the four seats in Himachal. “The BJP will win all the four seats in Himachal by huge margins. This has become possible due to the hard work of our party workers,” he added.

Congress leaders claimed that that the party had put up a spirited fight against the BJP in the state.

“The Congress will perform well in the elections. We fought unitedly against the BJP, which has lowered the political narrative in the state. Every citizen believes in building a strong nation rather than involving in divisive politics and people have voted for a secular government,” said state Congress chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore.

Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh said the increase in polling percentage showed that people had faith in democracy. “I am confident that people of the state have voted for the Congress as it was secular and did not believe in divisive politics,” he added.

What poll analyst says

Head of political science department in Himachal Pradesh University Harish Thakur said heavy polling usually indicated a strong response of voters to anti-incumbency factors.

“Heavy polling normally indicates the mood against the establishment. However, voters sometimes turn out more in number over sensitive issues. It seems that national security and transparency in governance have contributed to heavy turnout,” he said.

Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh chief electoral officer (CEO) Devesh Kumar said 38,01,793 people cast their votes in the four parliamentary constituencies in the state.

The state has 52,62,126 registered voters.

“This time, the overall turnout in the state stood at 72.25% which is 07.80% higher than 64.45% in 2014 Lok Sabha elections,” Kumar said.

He said Kangra witnessed 70.49% with 9,90,758 voters—4,70,156 male, 5,20,599 female, three third gender electors—exercising their franchise.

In Mandi, 9,30,562 people—4,60,850 male, 4,69,710 female and two third gender electors—cast their votes, he said, adding that the overall turnout was 73.39%.

Kumar said 9,71,961 people — 4,58,029 male, 5,13,929 female and three third gender electors — exercised their franchise in Hamirpur. The overall turnout in the constituency was 72.64%, he added.

Shimla recorded 72.65% polling with 9,08,512 voters exercising their franchise. They included 4,75,351 male, 4,33,154 female and seven third gender voters, he added.

First Published: May 21, 2019 11:15 IST

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