BJP retains Gujarat, ousts Congress from Himachal Pradesh

NEW DELHI, Dec 18:The BJP on Monday clinched its sixth consecutive victory in Gujarat, and ousted the ruling Congress from Himachal Pradesh.
With these wins, the BJP increases the tally of states it is in power in to 19.
Complete coverage of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh Assembly Election results 2017.
Morning trends in Gujarat showed the Congress give the ruling party a tough fight, with the party taking an apparent lead in the 182-member Assembly with 81 seats, as opposed to the BJP’s 78.
However, the tide soon turned, the latest data from the Election Commission shows that the state’s ruling party won 99 seats, thus securing a simple majority. The Congress has bagged 77 seats.
The BJP has received 49.1 per cent of the total votes polled, a slight increase from last time. The Congress, too, has improved its vote share to 41.4 per cent.
In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP won 42 seats and was ahead in two seats, while the ruling Congress won 19 and was ahead in two, in the 68-member Assembly.
Incumbent chief minister and Congress leader Virbhadra Singh won the Arki seat, defeating the BJP’s candidate by over 6,000 votes.
However, in an unexpected upset for the BJP, its chief ministerial candidate for the state, Prem Kumar Dhumal, was defeated in Sujanpur constituency.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed his party’s wins in the two states as victories for “politics of good governance and development,” and credited the “hardworking BJP Karyakartas” for them.
BJP president Amit Shah said that the results of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections showed that the people had voted for “politics of performance,” even as he blamed the Opposition’s “divisive politics” for a drop in his party’s seats in his home state.
Newly-anointed Congress president Rahul Gandhi conceded defeat, even as he expressed pride at his party’s workers for fighting “anger with dignity.”
The Congress termed its performance in the Gujarat elections a “moral victory.”
“Whatever the results, it was a moral win for Congress. It was a win for Rahul ji’s issue-based campaign. BJP, in the home state of PM Modi ji and Amit Shah ji, is struggling to cross even 100,” party leader Ashok Gehlot said.
The results are being widely perceived as a cementing of the BJP’s position in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In Shah’s own words, the BJP is “guaranteed to win in 2019.” TNN (with inputs from PTI)

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