Even as several top leaders of both the Congress and the BJP, including its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, today faced humiliating defeats in the Himachal Pradesh assembly polls, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh managed to register a win, albeit with a slim margin. The Congress was reduced to just 21 seats in the 68-seat HP assembly although Singh won from the Arki constituency with a margin of 6,024 votes against the BJP’s Rattan Singh Pal. Virbhadra’s son, Vikramaditya Singh, also won in his maiden attempt from the Shimla rural constituency, which was earlier represented by the outgoing chief minister. Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal conceded defeat to his Congress rival Rajinder Singh Rana in the contest for the Sujanpur Assembly seat. The BJP’s Inder Singh Gandhi defeated Congress cabinet minister Prakash Chaudhary in the Balh constituency. Senior-most minister Kaul Singh of the Congress lost the polls from Drang and his daughter Champa Thakur suffered defeat at the hands of the BJP’s Anil Sharma in Mandi.
State BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti lost to Satpal Singh Raizada of the Congress from the Una constituency seat.
In Dharmshala constituency, Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma was defeated by ex-BJP minister Kishan Kapoor with a margin of 2,820 votes. In Bharmour constituency, Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri lost to Jia Lal of the BJP by 6,873 votes. In Dehra Constituency of Kangra, BJP leader Ravinder Ravi and Congress veteran Viplove Thakur were defeated by Independent candidate Hoshiar Singh. In Solan, the Congress’s sitting MLA and Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment D R Shandil defeated his son- in-law and first timer Rajesh Kashyap of the BJP by 971 votes. Health and Family Welfare Minister Kaul Singh Thakur lost his seat in Darang to the BJP’s Jawahar Thakur by a margin of around 2,000 votes. Arun Kumar of the BJP defeated G S Bali, the Food and Civil Supplies Minister, in Nagrota Bagwan constituency.