The BJP today headed for a victory in Gujarat and was set to retain power and also stayed on course to oust the Congress in Himachal Pradesh, according to official counting trends available for most of the seats in the two states. Prem Kumar Dhumal, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Himachal Pradesh, was trailing behind Congress’s Rajinder Rana in Sujanpur, according to early trends. Seeking a sixth straight term, the BJP was ahead in 100 seats while the opposition Congress is leading in 70 seats, the Election Commission(EC) trends available for 175 of the 182 seats at stake showed. At this stage, the BJP had a vote share of 49.2 per cent while it was 41.5 per cent for the Congress. Early trends indicated a neck and neck race in Gujarat giving slight jitters to BJP workers. In the 2012 Assembly elections, the BJP had won 115 seats while the Congress emerged victorious in 61 seats. The EC figures showed the NCP, Bhartiya Tribal Party and an independent candidate leading in 5 seats together. BJP Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who was earlier trailing after the count of postal ballots, is now leading in over Congress’ Indranil Rajyaguru in Rajkot West seat. However, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel is trailing from Mehsana against Congress candidate Jivabhai Patel by 3,000 votes. Mehsana was the epicentre of the Patidar reservation agitation. Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia is trailing in Porbandar by just 50 votes after counting of three rounds, against BJP leader and fisheries minister Babubhai Bokhiriya.
Congress’ Alpesh Thakor is leading in Radhanpur seat against Lavingji Thakor of BJP. Senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil is trailing against BJP’s Virendrasinh Jadeja from Mandvi seat. State BJP chief Jitu Vaghani is leading over Dilipsinh Gohil of Congress in Bhavnagar West. The elections for 182-seat Assembly were held on December 9 and 14, after an acrimonious campaign, which was dominated by a face-off between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The BJP has been in power in the state since 1995, winning consecutive elections in the home state of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP was ahead in 37 seats while the ruling Congress is leading in 22, according to early Election Commission trends for 62 of the 68 seats.
Congress veteran and six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh are leading from Arki and Shimla(Rural) respectively, according to early trends. Main rivals BJP and Congress contested all the 68 seats at stake. The hill state witnessed a record 75.28 per cent turnout. The Congress and the BJP had 36 and 26 seats respectively in the outgoing House.
Himachal Pradesh has a tradition of change in government after every elections and going by the trend, this time it appears to be the turn of the BJP which is upbeat after the exit polls predicted a victory for the saffron party. The BJP ousted the Congress in 1990 and the Congress avenged defeat in 1993. The BJP formed the government with the help of Himachal Vikas Congress in 1998 and the Congress was back in power in 2003. The BJP made a comeback in 2007.