Himachal Pradesh poll analysis: Incumbency, rebels cost BJP power

Virbhadra Singh

Incumbency factor and rebels caused a marginal loss of 5.31 per cent that cost power to BJP in Himachal Pradesh while the Congress gained 13 seats with a vote increase of just 3.27 per cent in the Assembly elections.

The Congress polled 42.81 per cent votes compared to39.54 per cent in 2007 and won 36 seats against tally of 23 seats in 2007 and gained a wafer thin majority in 68-member house.

The BJP's vote share came down by 5.31 per cent from 43.78 per cent to 38.47 per cent, reducing the number of seats from 41 to 26.

However, the combined vote share of both major parties decreased slightly by two per cent from 83.32 per cent in 2007 to 81.28 per cent in 2012.

The Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP), floated by BJP dissidents, failed to match the performance of Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC), formed by former Communication Minister Sukh Ram in 1998 which polled more than nine per cent votes and won five seats. HLP could manage to win only one seat and its vote share remained below 2.5 per cent.

The Independents fared much better this time winning five seats and securing between 10,000 and 20,000 votes in more than a dozen constituencies.

As many as 60 independents were in fray in 2007 and polled 14.2 per cent, winning three seats and the number of independents was 106 this time.

Some national parties like CPI (M), CPI, BSP, SP, TMC, LJP and Shiv Sena failed to make any impact and their presence was inconsequential.

The BJP lost four seats to rebels who won as independents while it was relegated to third position in four segments due to presence of strong rebels who failed to win.

The Congress regained its foothold in biggest Kangra district winning ten out of 15 seats, while the BJP could winonly three seats in spite of its tallest leader, former Chiefminister Shanta Kumar campaigning intensively for his loyalists.

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