The Bharatiya Janata Party lost all five Assembly seats under Union Minister Anurag Thakur’s Lok Sabha constituency Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh, while it won all three seats from party president JP Nadda’s hometown Bilaspur.
The Congress candidate won from Sujanpur, from where Mr Thakur’s father and former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal used to contest, with a margin of 399 votes. Mr Dhumal was not given the ticket this time, though both the party and him insisted he had chosen to retire. Mr Thakur was seen publicly shedding a tear “in praise of the hard work” of his father soon after the announcement.
In Boranj, BJP lost by a margin of just 60 votes. Hamirpur assembly segment went to an Independent candidate, while Barsar and Nadaun were also bagged by Congress.
In Mr Nadda’s hometown Bilaspur, BJP candidates won all three Assembly seats, though by narrow margins.
After the BJP’s loss in the hill state, Anurag Thakur immediately came under fire on social media from BJP supporters, who blamed him for the party’s infighting.
BJP rebels contested in at least 21 of the 68 constituencies. Only two of them won, but others got significant votes that may ideally have gone to the BJP.
Overall, three-way factionalism was seen at play: Anurag Thakur and JP Nadda leading a faction each, and the third one was loyal to Chief Minister Jairam Thakur.
The Congress won 40 seats in Himachal Pradesh, a comfortable majority, with the BJP at 25. AAP didn’t win a single seat.
The BJP had been banking on the achievements of PM Modi for a smooth transition to a record second term in Himachal Pradesh, even though the state diligently swings between the BJP and the Congress every five years.
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