On results-eve, both Virbhadra, Dhumal hopeful of comeback

Virbhadra Dhumal

With the counting of votes some hours away, the BJP on Wednesday claimed that it was confident of returning to power with a comfortable margin. 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 next government in Himachal will be that of the Congress, and on its own strength."

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. He held two rounds of meetings with the Congress president and her political advisor Ahmed Patel at Delhi on Wednesday before leaving for Shimla. Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was in his Samirpur village to monitor the results. In 2007, when the BJP got a clear majority winning 41 of the 68 seats, Dhumal led a victory march from his village.

"Exit polls are not endorsements of public sentiments. The BJP had created history and reached out to almost every section of people. 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.

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