Leading BJP rebels are KL Thakur from Nalagarh, Hoshyar Singh from Dehra, Hiteshwar Singh from Banjar; Congress rebel Ashish Kumar ahead in Hamirpur
Congress sources said that the party could shift its MLAs to Chhattisgarh — one of two states where it has a chief minister — if the result is not decisive to prevent their poaching by the BJP.
The leads also showed Independents gaining as many five seats. The BJP has reportedly launched an outreach to them. These Independents — three of them BJP rebels — could be a key factor if neither party touches the majority mark of 35 in the 68-member House.
In the 2019 general election, Himachal Pradesh delivered a 61 per cent vote-share for the BJP — the highest in the entire country. Leads at 10.30 am showed a vote share of just about 43 per cent each for the BJP and Congress.
The Congress managed to cross the halfway mark in the leads at 10.30, but that equation has changed frequently over the past hour.
The leading BJP rebels are KL Thakur from Nalagarh, Hoshyar Singh from Dehra, and Hiteshwar Singh from Banjar. The Congress rebel leading is Ashish Kumar from Hamirpur.
In the 2017 assembly elections, the BJP won a comfortable majority of 44; the Congress got 21, with one seat going to CPI-M, and two to Independents.
This time, while BJP saw rebels across the state, the Congress has a tussle at the top. There’s no Virbhadra Singh, the ex-royal and six-time chief minister who was the party’s tallest leader in the state until his death last year. His wife Pratibha Singh, currently an MP, is the state Congress chief; and their son Vikramaditya Singh is a candidate.
Sukhvinder Sukhu, the current Leader of Opposition, and Mukesh Agnihotri are other claimants.
The AAP is not in the picture after making some noises after winning the neighbouring state of Punjab early this year. But it chose to concentrate instead on the Delhi civic poll, which it won yesterday, and the Gujarat assembly polls, where it is making a dent at least.