Both Virbhadra, Dhumal hopeful
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With the counting of votes hours away, the BJP on Wednesday claimed it was confident of returning to power. However, the exit polls have indicated that the Congress has an edge over it.
Virbhadra Singh, who was made PCC chief two months prior to the polls, said, "The mood of the people is for a change. Most exit polls are in our favour. I am confident of my own assessment. The Congress will return to power with very good numbers."
The polls have been a do or die battle for Virbhadra, who had to prove his mass appeal and clear himself of controversies. Despite his detractors asserting that Sonia Gandhi will decide the chief minister, the five-time chief minister is determined to make it the sixth time as well.
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was in his Samirpur village to monitor the results. "Exit polls are not endorsements of public sentiments... Some states have set a trend of voting back performing governments. The record voter turnout is a clear indication of pro-incumbency. The anger is directed against the anti-people policies of the UPA government," he asserted.
However, the presence of a third front, led by Himachal Lokhit Party, and rebellion within the BJP could spell trouble for the ruling party.