The recent assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh have created history in more than one way. The facts that emerge are interesting and enlightening.
For the first time, on its own strength, BJP got absolute majority?41 seats in a 68-member house (just 2 seats less than required for a 2/3rd majority, with two BJP rebels having already declared their support to Dhumal government).
In 1998, BJP did form government but it was in alliance with Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC).
BJP'spercentage of vote share went up from 35.38 in 2003 to 43.78 in December 2007?a jump of 8.40 per cent. BJP this time had no alliance or seat adjustment at any level. Congress vote percentage went down from 41.00 per cent in 2003 to 38.89.
In 2003 elections, HVC had contested independently and received 5.87 per cent votes. On the eve of 2004 parliamentary elections, HVC merged itself with Congress. This means that Congress share of votes in 2007 went down by another 5.87 per cent as compared to 2003.
In 1990 too, BJP had a majority but it was in alliance with Janata Dal then. BJP got 46 out of 51 contested. Out of 17 JD fought, it won 11. BJP percentage of votes then was 41.78.
Three times in the past, Prem Kumar Dhumal was projected as chief ministerial candidate. Party won twice in 1998 and 2007.
Popularity, among voters, of Prem Kumar Dhumal is continuously on the rise since he first contested the assembly election from Bamson constituency while that of the Congress chief ministerial candidate Virbhadra Singh is on the downslide.
On the contrary, BJP candidate, Khushi Ram Balnatah maintains his gain at the cost of Virbhadra Singh
Khushi Ram Balnatah
18.02% 31.93% 32.13%
If it was a BJP candidate P.K. Dhumal who won by the highest margin, it again was the BJP candidate Tulsi Ram, who won the Pangi-Bharmaur seat with the lowest margin of 16 votes.
Smt. Sonia Gandhi addressed election rallies at Palampur and Hamirpur and Congress lost at both the places.
Rahul Gandhi had his much hyped road show only in Kullu district and Congress lost all the three assembly seats for the first time.
Sonia protege loses
Being a Sonia prot?g? failed to fetch victory for her special nominee, Parkash Chand, son of a person working in her household. Congress suffered the ignominy of losing the security deposit even. She had denied the ticket to sitting Congress MLA and Deputy Speaker Dharampal.
Five Congress nominees forfeited their security deposit as against 3 of BJP.
For the first time, BJP has won all the five seats in Solan district and all the three seats in Kullu district.
Both BJP and Congress had fielded six women each. Four women from BJP and only one from Congress could make it to the State assembly.
BJP creates history
BJP captured the so-far-invincible Congress forts in Jubbal-Kotkhai (Shimla), Kotkehloor (Bilaspur) and Kassauli (Solan). Jubbal-Kotkhai had throughout been a pocket borough of Congress veteran late Thakur Ram Lal who won it throughout. After his death, in 2003 elections his grandson romped home successful. As a Janata Dal candidate supported by BJP Thakur Ram Lal had even humbled Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in 1990 from this constituency.
It was another Ram Lal Thakur of Congress who was this time defeated by BJP'sRandhir Sharma for the first time in Kotkehloor.
Except for the lone instance of Janata Party in 1977, BJP has won, for the first time, the Dharampur constituency in Mandi district when Mohinder Singh won it contesting as a BJP candidate this time
In the election two myths were smashed: One, division between the ?old? and the ?new? areas that had bogged the State since Punjab areas merged with Himachal in 1966; two, that BJP was a party of the ?new? areas alone. BJP won more or less an equal victory in both regions. Out of 34 seats in ?old? areas, BJP won 17 (50 per cent) and 24 out of the rest of 34.
Parliamentary constituency-wise too, there was more of uniformity and less of diversity. In Kangra parliamentary constituency BJP bagged 10 assembly seats, in Hamirpur 11, in Mandi 12 and in Shimla 8.
Veterans of battle
It is Congress candidate, Shri Gangu Ram Musafir who created history by winning his Pachhad assembly constituency consecutively for the seventh time.
I. D. Dhiman and Capt. Atma Ram, both of BJP and Harshvardhan Chauhan of Congress, have won their seats consecutively for the fifth time.
Shri Ravinder Singh Ravi (BJP) and Shri Kaul Singh Thakur (Congress) have scored their fourth consecutive victory.
BJP state president Jairam Thakur (Chachiot), Baldev Sharma (Nadaunta), Dr. Rajiv Bindal (Solan), Ramesh Dhwala (Jawalamukhi), Hari Narain Singh (Nalagarh)?all BJP?and Smt. Vidya Stokes, Shri G. S. Bali, and Dr. Prem Singh (Renuka)?all Congress, have recorded their third victory in a row.
Ministers lick dust
More than half, 5 out of 10, ministers of the Congress cabinet were defeated. One did not fight, but his son contested and lost. One resigned about one month before the announcement of election. One minister was denied nomination. Two senior ministers, Mrs. Vidya Stokes (Kumarsain) and Thakur Kaul Singh (Darang) somehow managed to escape the BJP onslaught retaining their seats by very narrow margins of 1250 and 1809 votes, respectively.
Four other Congress ministers, who were dropped from Cabinet for one reason or the other, were dumped by the electorate?Shri Brij Bihari Lal Butail (Palampur), Mrs. Asha Kumari (Banikhet), Mrs. Chandresh Kumari (Dharamsala) and the last of all, Major Vijai Singh Mankotia who two months back left Congress and contested as BSP'schief ministerial candidate.
BSP opens account
BSP did succeed in opening its account for the first time in Himachal from Kangra, but 59 of its candidates lost security deposit.
Rest of the national parties failed to make their presence felt. CPM was runner-up only in Shimla constituency. In rest of the State CPM, CPI, NCP, Lok Janshakti Party and Samajwadi Party did contest some seats but only to lose their security deposit.
Leader in distress
Whenever Congress wins majority, the leader of the Congress Legislature Party has been Shri Virbhadra Singh, but whenever it loses majority as it did in 1990 and now in 2007, it is Smt. Vidya Stokes who is elected the leader.
Lead with vote percentage