Shimla: The verdict is out and the Congress under the leadership of Virbhadra Singh on Thursday wrested power in Himachal Pradesh by getting an absolute majority in the state Assembly.
The Congress has won 36 out of the total 68 seats, while the ruling BJP has managed to get only 26. Others have won six seats.
Congress veteran and five-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who led the party`s campaign in the state, was elected by a record margin of 20,000 votes.
"We are forming the next government," he triumphantly told the media.
Earlier, state Chief Minister and BJP leader PK Dhumal on Thursday conceded defeat and said “we need to analyse what went wrong.”
Congress’ gamble of dispatching Virbhadra Singh to Himachal Pradesh to lead the Assembly Elections campaign has paid off. The Congress veteran was sent to the hilly state at a time when he was facing corruption charges against him, but the election results show that Virbhdara still holds his fort in his home town.
Sonia to decide on CM candidate: Virbhadra
After winning the elections Virbhadra said that he had put in his "best efforts" in the polls and it was for Sonia Gandhi to decide the party`s chief minister.
"I had been given the brief to bring the party back to power and for that I had put in my best efforts. It is for our national leader Sonia Gandhi to decide who will become the Chief Minister," Singh said while speaking to reporters.
BJP accepts defeat
BJP leader PK Dhumal won from the Hamirpur seat defeating his nearest Congress rival Narinder Thakur by a margin of over 9,500 votes.
Reacting to election debacle, Dhumal further underlined the “need to analyse what went wrong”. "The voters form the kind of government that they want, and best wishes to the new government," Dhumal said.
Senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar said the party accepted the poll verdict.
"We accept the verdict. All people in the BJP had fought elections together. The people did not vote for us,” Shanta Kumar, a former Himachal Pradesh chief minister, told reporters.
Leaders who won and lost
The four independents who won the elections are: Congress rebel Kirnesh Jung from Paonta Sahib, Balbir Singh Verma (Chopal) as well as BJP rebels Pawan Kajal (Kangra) and Rajinder Singh (Sujanpur).
Congress candidate Rakesh Kalia won Gagret seat in Una district defeating Sushil Kalia (BJP).
BJP has won Shillai seat of Sirmaur district where its candidate Baldev Tomar defeated Congress` Harshvardhan Chauhan
Congress candidate Sohan Lal Thakur has won Sundernagar seat.
Congress leader Vidya won Theog.
BJP leader Dr Rajiv Bindal bagged Nahan seat.
Congres leader Kishori Lal won Baijnath seat.
Congress`s Asha Kumari won Dalhousie.
Congress’ Sudhir Sharma won from Dharamshala.
BJP’s Rikhiram Kaundal won from Jhanduta.
Congress’ Brij Bihari Lal Butail won Palampur.
BJP’s Bikram Singh Jaryal won from Aryal Bhattiyat.
Congress’ G S Bali won from Nagrota.
BJP’s Govind Singh Thakur won from Manali.
BJP’s Gulab Singh Thakur bagged Jogindernagar seat.
BJP’s Ishwar Dass Dhiman won from Bhoranj.
Congress’ Kaul Singh won from Darang.
BJP’s Ravinder Singh won from Dehra.
BJP’s Satpal Singh Satti won from Una.
Congress’ Sushir Sharma won from Dharamshala.
Congress’ Sujan Singh Pathania won from Fatehpur.
BJP’s Suresh Bhardwaj won from Shimla.
Nearly 75 percent of the 4.6 million electorate voted on November 4. Officials said the state received only 2,800 postal ballots.
In 2007, the BJP won 41 seats, the Congress 23, the Bahujan Samaj Party one seat and independents three seats. The BSP legislator later joined the BJP.