Shimla: The initial trends of the Election Commission show that Congress has already surpassed the majority mark in the state as it is leading with 34 seats. The BJP in 31 seats and Independent in 4 seats.
The Congress may take its MPs to Raipur in Chhattisgarh if the elections get very close and the things get out of hand in Himachal Pradesh, reported NDTV.
Earlier, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led on 13 of the 68 assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh, while Congress led on 11 Assembly seats.
According to the latest update by the Election Commission of India, BJP is leading at eight seats with 44.14 percent votes while Congress is leading at six seats with 42.18 percent vote.
The ECI further informed that among the competitors in the fray, the Aam Aadmi Party has received 0.65 pc votes while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is at 0.32 pc and the Communist Party of India (CPI) was seen at zero pc votes in the hilly state.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) could gather 0.42 per cent votes, as per the initial trends.
The counting of the votes began at 8 am on Thursday
In Himachal, there are 68 counting halls in 59 locations across the state.
The elections for 68 assembly seats in the state were held on November 12 and around 75.6 per cent polling percentage was recorded.
The hill state witnessed an intense campaign with BJP trying to return to power for a second consecutive term and Congress backing on its '10 guarantees' that the party listed out in its manifesto to take them home. The emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party as the third major political force in the state has intensified the electoral battle.
Both BJP and Congress have claimed victory in the state which has had a tradition of changing governments for the past several years. If BJP wins then it will beat the anti-incumbency and change the trend of the alternate government in the state.
The Election Commission has made adequate preparations for the counting of votes. There will be 68 counting halls in 59 locations across the state.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Maneesh Garg said 10,000 duty staff including the security personnel have been deployed as part of security arrangements.
He said that depending upon the availability of the space, a maximum of 14 counting tables and a minimum of eight counting tables would be available in the counting halls. He said that there will be a separate table for nearly 500 postal ballots.
Besides, there are separate tables for scanning of electronically transmitted postal ballots linked to computers for counting.
Out of the postal ballots issued to employees deployed on election duty, 52,859 postal ballots were received back by December 6, 2022 (approximately 87 per cent) by the returning officers all over the state, Maneesh Garg had said on Wednesday.
According to the exit polls predicted on Monday, BJP has the edge over Congress in a tough fight in Himachal Pradesh.
While most exit polls predicted that BJP will likely retain Himachal Pradesh, one exit poll predicted Congress to lead in the sweepstakes to form government in the hill state.
Notably, in the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP formed the government by winning 44 seats while Congress secured 21 seats.
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