New Delhi: Reacting to the exit-poll projections for Himachal Pradesh, outgoing Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday said that though many pollsters have predicted a close contest between the ruling BJP and Congress, the people should wait for the final outcome on December 8. “Many exit polls are showing that the BJP is forming government again in Himachal while some others are predicting a neck-to-neck fight in a few segments. We should wait till December 8 for the final outcome. According to our analysis, there is a very good possibility of the BJP forming the government with a comfortable majority,” Thakur added.
The Zee News-BARCA exit poll results showed that BJP has a chance of winning 35-40 seats in Himachal Pradesh, while Congress may win 20-25 seats and Aam Aadmi Party may bag 0-3 seats. Other parties are likely to win 1-5 seats. There are 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly. In terms of vote share, BJP is likely to garner (47%), Congress (41%), AAP (2%), and Others (10%).
Himachal CM Jairam Thakur was supported by nearly 35% voters as the top Chief Ministerial candidate. If these numbers hold good, this will be the first time in decades that an incumbent regime will not be voted out after serving five years during an Assembly election.
Many political analysts are of the view that Himachal could be a low-hanging fruit for Congress due to strong anti-incumbency sentiments. But in a replay of what happened in the 2022 Assembly elections in Uttarakhand, where the Congress failed to snatch the state from the BJP despite the immense popularity of Congress leader Harish Rawat, Himachal could prove to be a so near, yet so far phenomenon for the Congress.
For a while, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) appeared to mount a spirited challenge in the state and position itself as the real alternative to both BJP and Congress. But it diverted all its attention towards Gujarat. And the exit poll shows the effect of that. AAP is projected to win no seats and garner a vote share of barely 2.1 per cent in Himachal.
The BJP vote share is projected to fall from 48.8 per cent in 2017 to 46 per cent now. Even Congress is projected to lose some vote share, falling from 41.7 per cent in 2017 to 41 per cent this year.
If the exit poll numbers hold good, which will be confirmed once election results are announced on December 8, the outcomes will deal yet another blow to the Congress which seems unable to win Assembly elections after 2019.
Most exit polls on Monday predicted a clean sweep for the BJP in Gujarat while the fight for Himachal is predicted to be tougher for the saffron camp. Some exit polls even went to the extent of saying that the BJP was on course for a handsome win in Gujarat and could even set a record in terms of the seats they are projected to win. They also predicted that the AAP will open its account in the Gujarat Assembly, finishing third behind the BJP and the Congress.
(With Agency Inputs)