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Congress routs BJP in HP

March 01, 2003 20:16 IST

Foiling the Bharatiya Janata Party's attempt to do a repeat of Gujarat, the Congress on Saturday bounced back to power in Himachal Pradesh securing a simple majority.

The Congress won 40 of the 65 seats for which polling was held on February 26. Polling for three seats would be held in June. 

The BJP, which had led a wafer-thin-majority coalition government, could win only 16 seats with a number of its stalwarts, including 15 ministers, Speaker Ghulab Chand Thakur and state unit president Jai Kishan Sharma, biting the dust.

Sukh Ram's Himachal Vikas Congress, whose three members provided life support to the BJP regime, was also routed. Sukh Ram, however, retained his Mandi seat.

Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party and Himachal Loktantrik Morcha won one seat each and independents won six.

The Congress' impressive march to victory was led by leader of the opposition Veerbhadra Singh and Pradesh Congress Committee chief Vidya Stokes. They won from Rohru and Kumarsain in Shimla district respectively.

Of the 20 ministers, only five, including Chief Minister P K Dhumal, emerged victorious. Education Minister I D Dhiman, Irrigation and Public Health Minister Romesh Dhawala and ministers of state Ravi Inder Singh Ravi and Hari Narain Singh were among the winners.

BJP suffered major losses in Kangra district losing eight seats held by it. It lost Sulah, Shahpur, Dharamsala, Baijnath, Gangath Jwali, Nurpur and Kangra to the Congress. A BJP rebel Naveen Dhiman defeated the party's official nominee in Pragpur.

The BJP lost both Shimla and Kusumpti it had held in Shimla district, retained Solan and Nalagarh in Solan and lost Chintpurni and Santokhgarh in Una district.

Mohinder Singh, who had won the 1998 election on an HVC ticket but later floated his own party after being dropped from the state cabinet, retained Dharampur seat in Mandi district.

Congress, which had won all the five seats in Sirmaur district in 1998, suffered a setback losing prestigious Nahan to the Lok Janshakti Party and Paonta to the BJP.

BJP suffered similar reverses in Hamirpur district, where it had won all the five seats last time, losing Hamirpur and Nadaun seats to the Congress. Congress wrested Bhatiyat and Rajnagar seats in Chamba district and Banjar seat in Kullu from the BJP.

Rebels in both the BJP and the Congress fared well with Subhash Chand, Rakesh Verma and Naveen Dhiman defeating official BJP nominees in Chopal, Theog and Pragpur constituencies and Congress rebels Sohan Lal, Kuldeep Singh Pathania and Biru Ram winning from Kusumpti, Bhatiyat and Gherwin constituencies.

Of the 10 women candidates fielded by the Congress, four, including HPCC president Vidya Stokes and All India Mahila Congress president Chandresh Kumari, won, while all the five women candidates fielded by the BJP lost.

The strength of women members would be reduced from six to four in the new assembly.

(c) Copyright 2003 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

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Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: A lesson

Let this be a good lesson to all the shameless, xenophobic and bigotic powers around the world. The BJP's hate campaign is simply going to ...

Posted by Aniket

Sub: Comments

Pity there are virtually no muslims in Himachal Pradesh. Otherwise the BJB could have unleashed a hate campaign against them and repeated a Gujarat.

Posted by annu

Sub: HP results

There is no magic in this result.Tenure in power generates anti-incumbency. Congress should wait for its turn to be surprised.

Posted by Anil KT

Sub: March 1 - What a day it has been

Hurray! Religious bigots bite the dust both in the polling booth and the playing field. Jai Hind.

Posted by Brajesh


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