Just two hours after counting began at 8 am, the BJP was already trailing the Congress in Himachal Pradesh. By 11 am, incumbent chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had conceded defeat, welcoming the “people’s decision”. BJP’s Mission Repeat had turned into a decisive defeat.
As the Congress, led by former chief minister Raja Virbhadra Singh, who faces graft charges, prepared to take charge, senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar said in Delhi, “We accept the verdict. The party fought the elections together. The people did not vote for us.”
While Kumar may have accepted the verdict, sources confirm the Dhumal camp was holding him singularly responsible for its beating at the hustings. A close Dhumal aide says, “Shanta Kumarji played a spoiler. It cost us at least 11 seats alone in Kangra, the margin we lost with.” The BJP slid from 41 to a dismal 26, an evident anti-BJP vote in the hill state. The Congress meanwhile forged ahead with 36, comfortably reaching the half-way mark.
Verdict 2012 marks a return for the Congress after five years, in keeping with the extended voter oscillation between the the main parties every term that Himachal has come to be identified with for over three decades. Dhumal becomes yet another example of a CM fighting anti-incumbency and unable to keep his place in the office.
While the BJP fought these polls on the development plank and tried cornering the Congress by trying to raise the issue of the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders by the central government, finally neither the corruption charges against Virbhadra nor the induction stoves could warm up the tally for the saffron party.
The Congress stood to gain from the divide between Upper and Lower Himachal, with Virbhadra’s party defeating the BJP handsomely in the upper Himachal region. Dhumal’s son and BJP MP from Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur, conceded that “ticket distribution and rebels have been a major cause for our defeat”.
The Congress meanwhile used Himachal as its sole reason to rejoice, given the results in Gujarat. There was a sour note for the CPI(M), which after putting up a good show at the Shimla Municipal Corporation elections, and aligning itself with the newly-formed Himachal Lokhit Party, won just one seat.
By Prarthna Gahilote in Himachal Pradesh
OUTLOOK >> There was a sour note for the CPI(M), which after putting up a good show at the Shimla Municipal Corporation elections, and aligning itself with the newly-formed Himachal Lokhit Party, won just one seat.
It is funny to see Left Liberal Media folks exult in celebrations with some odd things likeCPM winning Shimla Municipal Corporation. Communism in India has been rejected not once but 15 times and never in history of India have Commies got more than 10% of the popular vote. Given this, there is no sour note for CPM, except that the party is still out of power in their lone bastion of West Bengal and is clueless on next general elections since the dream of 3rd front has collapsed right away while its comrade allies in 3rd front project are busy partnering with the capitalist class !!
The loss of Himachal Pradesh to U.P.A. is another proof of the utter ineptitide and lack of politiacal savvy amongst BJP's top leadership. When --due to a spate of scams like the 2G, coal allocations& Vadra-DLF deals -- the country was awash with anti-Congress senriment , the BJP still managed to lose in the hill state ! What prevented BJP top brass, one would like to ask, from putting in place five years ago an oversight group of senior, experienced leaders to watch over the functioning of the Prem Kumar Dhumal govt. to ensure it performed well and retained public goodwill?
BJP does have many weak and incompetent leaders but Dont think Shri Dhumal is one of them.
He has delivered a reasonably good, clean governance in contrast to the ultra corrupt criminal 6 time CM of Congress (Vidharba).
But ultimately in electoral politics, good parties and CMs lose. NDA lost in 2004 narrowly despite delivering fairly well and now BJP lost HP.
There is still hope for BJP at delhi. THe weight of anti incumbency against decades of CON party dynasty misrule is going to be massive and enough to decisively turn the CON party into shambles in 2014 - provided they are assured of another NDA like alternative. Now that assurance should be given by BJP top leadership . And they must do it fast, the nation is impatient for change now.
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