BJP rides anti-incumbency wave to return to power in HP
Shimla, Dec 28 (UNI) Riding on an anti-incumbency wave against the Congress regime on the twin issue of development and corruption, the BJP today was all set to return to power in Himachal Pradesh.
Of the 40 seats filled in the 68-member Assembly, the BJP had captured 21 and was leading in as many as 19 constituencies.
The Congress had won 18 seats and was ahead in 6.
The BSP, which had threatened to cut into the votebanks of both the BJP and the Congress, was leading in just one constituency.
Independents had won in one constituency and were leading in two.
Both Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh (Rohru) and BJP's chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal (Bamsan) emerged victorious.
Former Minister J P Nadda won for BJP from Bilaspur.
Six out of seven Cabinet ministers in the Virbhadra Singh government Agriculture Minister Raj Kishan Gaur (Kullu), Irrigation, Public Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur (Darang), Forest Minister Ram Lal Thakur (Kotkehloor), Excise and Taxation Minister Rangila Ram Rao (Gopalpur), Industries Minister Kuldip Kumar (Gagret) and Health Minister Sujan Singh Pathania (Jawali) were trailing.
Power Minister Vidya Stokes (Kumarsain) was the only Cabinet minister leading in her constituency.
Former Tourism and Transport Minister G S Bali (Nagrota) and former Education Minister Asha Kumari (Banikhet), both from Congress were leading.
Former Ministers Kishen Kapoor (Dharamshala), Ishwar Das Dhiman (Mewa), former Speaker Gulab Singh Thakur (Joginder Nagar), Roop Singh (Sundernagar), Narendra Baragta (Jubbal Kotkhai) and Ravinder Singh Ravi (Thural) were leading.
Former Union Minister Sukh Ram's son Anil Sharma (Mandi) of Congress was leading.
Vikram Singh (BJP) from Jawan, Damodar Dass (BJP) from Balh, Sukh Ram (BJP) from Paonta Sahib, Satpal Singh Satti (BJP) from Una, Harshwardhan (Cong) Shillai, Randhir Sharma (BJP) Kotkehloor, Sat Prakash (Cong) Banjar, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu (Cong) from Nadaun, B K Chauhan (BJP) from Chamba and Jagat Singh Negi (Cong) from Kinnaur were leading.
Also leading were Rakesh Kalia (Cong) from Chitpurni, Sudhir Sharma (Cong) from Baijnath, Virender Kanwar (BJP) from Kutlehar, Balbir Singh (BJP) from Gagret, Sohan Lal (Cong) from Kusumpti, Radha Raman Shastri (BJP) from Chaupal, Thakur Singh Bharmauri (Cong) from Bharmaur, Rajiv Bindal (BJP) from Solan, Rakesh Verma (Ind) from Theog and BJP state president Jai Ram Thakur from Chachiyot.
(Eds : Pick up suitably from related series).