Himachal Pradesh Assembly Election Results 2017 LIVE UPDATES: BJP takes early lead, but CM face Dhumal trails

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Assembly Election

Himachal Pradesh (HP) Assembly Elections Results 2017 LIVE UPDATES: The election, which was held on November 9, recorded a 75.28 per cent turnout, the highest in the state.

The BJP and Congress are battling it out in a straight contest in Himachal Pradesh. Counting of votes for the 68-member Assembly began at 8 am on Monday. The two parties have been alternating power in the state since 1990. The election, which was held on November 9, recorded a 75.28 per cent turnout, the highest in the state.

There are 337 candidates in the fray for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017, including Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who contested the polls from Arki in Solan district and former CM and BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, who contested from Sujanpur. While exit polls have predicted an easy win for the BJP in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress has rejected surveys.

Here are LIVE updates on the Himachal Pradesh (HP) Assembly Elections Results 2017:

10.00 am: According to official Election Commission figures, the BJP has taken the lead in 38 seats while the Congress is ahead on 22 seats. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is contesting from Arki in Solan district, is leading  by 1,162 votes, according to ANI.

9.41 am: Here are some other trends coming through: Vikramaditya, Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh’s son and Congress youth president, is leading by 1,316 votes in Shimla (Rural). The seat was vacated by Virabhadra for his son to make his political debut. Meanwhile, BJP’s Suresh Bhardwaj is ahead of Congress’ Harbhajan Singh (no, not the cricketer) in Shimla (Urban); he’s up by 1,500 votes. Meanwhile, what we’re seeing in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections Results 2017 is Indu Gauswamy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aide, leading in Palampur constituency.

9.21 am: Here are some interesting trends: BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal is currently trailing by 600 votes in the first round of counting from Sujanpur constituency. He’s contesting against Congress’ Rajinder Rana. Meanwhile, HPCC president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu is leading by 2,000 votes against BJP candidate Vijay Agnihotri from Nadaun constituency.

9.11 am: If you’re just joining us, here’s a quick update on what’s happening on the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017: Counting is underway for the 68-member House in the hill-state. According to early trends, the BJP is leading in 23 seats while the Congress is up in 14. Himachal remains one of the five states under Congress rule, and the results of this election will hold significance for newly-elected party president Rahul Gandhi.

8.56 am: In Hamirpur constituency, BJP’s Narinder Thakur is leading by 900 votes against Congress candidate Kuldeep Pathania. Here’s a picture of SD Boys School in Hamirpur, where the counting of votes is being conducted. In Barsar constituency, BJP’s candidate Baldev Sharma is leading by 452 votes over Congress’ Inder Dutt Lakhanpal in the first round.

8.46 am: According to initial trends, the BJP is leading in 16 seats while the Congress is up in 10, for the 68-member House.

8.35 am: While we’re all glued to our televisions/internet as early trends emerge in the polls, CM Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh and their son and youth Congress president Vikramaditya are at Holly Lodge, watching the same. According to their election affidavits, Vikramaditya is wealthier than his father, who is a six time CM in the state. While Vikramaditya has property worth Rs 84 crore, including Rs 79.82 crore as immovable property, Virbhadra has disclosed total assets of Rs 30 crore.

On a side note, the Election Commission now asks candidates to disclose their Facebook and Twitter profiles. CM Virbhadra has obliged in his affidavit this time (@virbhadrasingh)

8.31 am: Do you think exit poll predictions will be accurate in Himachal Pradesh? According to polls, the BJP is headed for a landslide victory in the state. However, CM Virbhadra Singh has dismissed all predictions, and described exit polls as “unscientific.” Calling for them to be banned, he had said, “These are not based on facts or real factors. I know the people’s pulse. I have been on the ground during campaigning. I have more sense of what people think than those conducting such exit polls. Exit polls have also been proved wrong in the past.” What do you think?

8.18 am: The two main candidates contesting the polls today, for the Congress and BJP respectively, are Chief Minister Virabhadra Singh and BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal. Singh contested the polls from Arki in Solan district. Dhumal contested the polls from Sujanpur. Singh has vacated the Shimla (Rural) constituency for his son, Vikramaditya Singh, who is contesting the polls for the first time.

8.13 am: Here are some visuals from the counting centre in Hamirpur. According to early trends, the Congress is leading in two seats while the BJP is leading in three. Now, remember, this is a straight contest between the two rival parties, which have alternating in power in the state since 1990. Counting for all 68 seats are currently underway, simultaneously.

8.06 am: While the Himachal Pradesh elections have been largely overshadowed by the Gujarat polls, which are taking place simultaneously (for our coverage of Gujarat, click here), the hill-state remains one of the last five states under the Congress. Virbhadra Singh, 83, who is eyeing a seventh term as Chief Minister in the state, remains a popular face for the party in the state. At one point, ahead of the polls, he had threatened to not contest the election, but was later announced as the Congress’ chief ministerial candidate.

8.00 am: Counting of votes has begun in Himachal. Service ballots will be counted first. The initial trends are likely to be revealed shortly, between 8.15 am and 8.30 am.

7.45 am: There are 48 counting centres set up in Himachal Pradesh today; the first trends are likely to be out between 8.15 and 8.30 am. The counting of votes for Lahaul Spiti will be done at Kullu.

7.35 am: Interestingly, more women cast their vote in the Himachal polls that men. As many as 19,10,582 female voters exercised their franchise, according to official figures, while there were 18,11,061 male voters. However, the number of male voters was 74,200 more than females, reports news agency PTI. In Kangra district, the biggest in the state, 4,61,278 women cast votes against 3,96,208 men. Similarly, in Mandi district, 2,96,898 against 2,71,725 by men.

7.31 am: The state, which went to polls on November 9, recorded the highest-ever voter turnout this year with 75.28 per cent of the people exercising their franchise — during the 2012 polls, the voter turnout was 73.5 per cent. There were 7,521 polling stations set up in the state this year. The Election Commission deployed VVPAT machines, as well as EVMs, for the first time, in a bid to ensure transparency in polling.

7.25 am: Exit polls in the state predicted a landslide win for the BJP. The lowest predicted for the Congress was 6 by News 24-Today’s Chankaya and the maximum for BJP was 55 by Chanakya and India Today-Axis My India survey. In the previous Assembly elections in the state, held in 2012, the Congress had won 36 seats while the BJP had bagged 26 seats.

7.15 am: Welcome to our live blog on the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections verdict. Stay tuned, as we bring you news and updates as counting of votes to the 68-member House begins.

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