Ahmedabad/Shimla: The BJP Monday headed for a victory in Gujarat and was set to retain power and also stayed on course to oust the Congress in Himachal Pradesh, according to official counting trends available for most of the seats in the two states.
Prem Kumar Dhumal, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Himachal Pradesh, was trailing behind Congress’s Rajinder Rana in Sujanpur, according to early trends.
Seeking a sixth straight term, the BJP was ahead in 100 seats while the opposition Congress is leading in 70 seats, the Election Commission(EC) trends available for 175 of the 182 seats at stake showed. At this stage, the BJP had a vote share of 49.2 per cent while it was 41.5 per cent for the Congress.
Early trends indicated a neck and neck race in Gujarat giving slight jitters to BJP workers.
In the 2012 Assembly elections, the BJP had won 115 seats while the Congress emerged victorious in 61 seats.
The EC figures showed the NCP, Bhartiya Tribal Party and an independent candidate leading in 5 seats together.
BJP Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who was earlier trailing after the count of postal ballots, is now leading in over Congress’ Indranil Rajyaguru in Rajkot West seat.
However, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel is trailing from Mehsana against Congress candidate Jivabhai Patel by 3,000 votes. Mehsana was the epicentre of the Patidar reservation agitation.
The elections for 182-seat Assembly were held on December 9 and 14, after an acrimonious campaign, which was dominated by a face-off between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
The BJP has been in power in the state since 1995, winning consecutive elections in the home state of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP was ahead in 37 seats while the ruling Congress is leading in 22, according to early Election Commission trends for 62 of the 68 seats.
Congress veteran and six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh are leading from Arki and Shimla(Rural) respectively, according to early trends.
Main rivals BJP and Congress contested all the 68 seats at stake.
The hill state witnessed a record 75.28 per cent turnout. PTI