The hill State of Himachal kept its date with anti incumbency since 1985 as the Congress was decimated with the BJP getting a two thirds majority.
Lawlessness & corruption took a toll on the Congress’ prospects as 5 of its cabinet ministers lost the election. Virbhadra & his son Vikramaditya won their respective elections but could not secure a win for the party, unlike their opponent Dhumal who ensured victory for his party but lost his own election.
Virbhadra, who is battling a graft case against him & his wife, and also faced the wrath of the public in the inept handling of the Gudiya rape & murder case, had his backs to the wall & had to face the ire of the voters in key districts of Kangra & Mandi where the Congress was annihilated, with the BJP winning 21 of the 25 seats on offer.
The Congress had to pay for the lawlessness in Shimla district where the Gudiya tragedy happened as it lost both Jubbal Kotkhai & Theog to its rivals.
It is pertinent to note that outgoing CM Virbhadra had the home portfolio when the Gudiya rape & murder took place and the custodians of law were taken into custody by the CBI.
The outgoing CM tried to play the victim card in front of the voters – in his disproportionate asset case where he is out on bail along with his wife – but that obviously failed to cut much ice with the voter. However the octogenarian politician and 6-time Chief Minister won from his new constituency of Arki & also ekked out a maiden win for his son from his old constituency Shimla Rural.
With his party’s defeat at the hustings, Virbhadra seems to have come to the end of his long political career & must be hoping that he is absolved in the disproportionate asset case going on in the Delhi High court.
As Virbhadra hangs his boots after a long innings, the power struggle in the State Congress may have just begun.
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