According to the latest Election Commission of India data, BJP got 18 seats and leads in 7 in Himachal Pradesh, whereas Congress won 35 seats and has a lead in 5 seats.
Without breaking its age-old tradition, the people of Himachal Pradesh voted for the Congress party, a state known to swing every five years. According to the Election Commission of India website, BJP got 18 seats and leads in 7 in Himachal Pradesh, whereas Congress won 35 seats and has a lead in 5 seats. In the past three decades, the hill state has never skipped its tradition of changing the government every five years. BJP’s Himachal loss was crucial as it is the home state of BJP chief JP Nadda, and Union Minister Anurag Thakur.
With the victory now, the Congress has a huge task of selecting the chief minister as many leaders are in the fray for the post. During BJP’s campaign, Union home minister Amit Shah even mocked the grand-old party for not clearing the name for the CM candidate in the run-up to the polls.
As per speculations by experts, the top 5 leaders who are frontrunners in the race are Pratibha Singh, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, Mukesh Agnihotri, Thakur Kaul Singh, and Asha Kumari.
She is the wife of six-time CM Virbhadra Singh and a sitting MP from Mandi constituency of Himachal Pradesh. Singh did not contest the Himachal Pradesh assembly polls, but she and her party spoke about Virbhadra Singh’s legacy and work in the state.
In the 2013 bypoll, she defeated current CM Jai Ram Thakur from the same seat that was earlier represented by her husband before he became the CM.
Singh also made it clear that people voted for the Congress considering the work done by her husband late Virbhadra Singh. She reiterated that “there was no tussle in the Congress over the chief minister” but hinting that people had voted for the legacy of Virbhadra Singh, she also said, “They have in a way voted to pay back this debt.” With such a statement, she seems to have been indirectly staking claim for the post of CM.
Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu
Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu is the Himachal Congress campaign committee president, and represents the Nadaun assembly constituency of Himachal Pradesh. He is reportedly a close confidante of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and is a strong Thakur candidate of the party. He is also a counterweight to the Dhumal family.
He is the Leader of Opposition in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly, and a four-time MLA from Haroli seat in Una district. He was also the cabinet minister in the Virbhadra Singh government.
Thakur Kaul Singh
Thakur Kaul Singh is an eight-time MLA from the Darrang Assembly seat in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, and is close to the Virbhadra Singh family. If nominated for the CM post, Pratibha Singh might support his candidature as he had remained loyal to her after Virbhadra Singh’s death. Kaul lost the state assembly elections in 2017.
Dalhousi MLA Asha Kumari was the in-charge of Punjab Assembly elections, and is the sister of Chhattisgarh minister T S Singh. In 2017, Kumari, who is also the niece of six-time CM late Virbhadra Singh, had defeated BJP’s Thakur by a wafer-thin margin of 556 votes only. But this year, Kumari, who is better known was Asha Rani, was trailing against BJP’s Dhavinder Singh Thakur.