Home India Politics BJP wrests Congress bastion in Himachal, loses another

BJP wrests Congress bastion in Himachal, loses another


Shimla : In the Himachal Pradesh bypolls for two assembly seats, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday won one seat that was the stronghold of opposition Congress, while it lost its seat to the Congress in another.

Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan said in a statement here that the BJP’s Hridya Ram defeated Congress’ Vinay Kumar in Renuka (reserved) constituency by a margin of 3,526 votes.

He said Ram polled 53.13 percent votes whereas Kumar got 44.12 percent.

While Kumar is the son of the late Prem Singh, who won from this seat on the Congress ticket six times, Ram, a Himachal administrative officer who took voluntary retirement, contested the election for the first time.

In Nalagarh constituency of Solan district, Congress’ Lakhwinder Rana won by 1,599 votes from his close rival Gurnam Kaur of the BJP.

Kaur is the wife of the late H.N. Saini, who represented the seat three times – 1998, 2003 and 2007.

She got 48.57 percent votes whereas the winner secured 51.43 percent votes.

In both the seats, the BJP and the Congress were banking on sympathy votes. But there was no sympathy wave in the favour of candidates – Kumar and Kaur.

But the BJP has won the Renuka seat for the first time in the electoral history of the state.

Barring 1977 and 1990 elections when the Janata Party and the Janata Dal won the seat, it was held by Congress in all the elections.

The by-elections held Nov 30 saw over 72 percent votes.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal told IANS that the party victory was all the more significant as the Renuka assembly constituency had remained the Congress bastion for years together.

He attributed its victory to good governance and its development plank.

State Congress chief Kaul Singh said the party won the Nalagarh seat due to neglect of the area in the past four years.

For both the parties, the stakes during the bypolls were high as the state’s next assembly elections are due late next year.