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Prem Kumar Dhumal tonight ruled himself out from the race for the post of Himachal Pradesh chief minister, a day before a meeting of BJP MLAs to elect their leader.
Search for new Himachal Pradesh CM: BJP observers to consult MLAs; JP Nadda, Jairam Thakur frontrunners
BJP central observers Nirmala Sitaraman and Narendra Singh Tomar arrived here Thursday to meet the newly elected party MLAs to elicit their views and arrive at consensus on a new chief minister.
The BJP had decided not to project any leader as chief minister and there was a general impression that Nadda would get the job.
Riding a strong anti-incumbency wave against the Congress, the BJP today wrested the hill state of Himachal Pradesh winning 44 seats in the 68-member Assembly.
The Himachal Pradesh electoral ground is no cricket pitch but the tale of victory and defeat is one that Congress' Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and BJP's Prem Kumar Dhumal will surely identify with.
Rajinder Rana defeated two-time Chief Minister Dhumal in a straight contest by 2,933 votes in the Himachal Pradesh's Sujanpur, the seat he was asked to contest from.
For BJP's chief ministerial candidate, Prem Kumar Dhumal, was among those defeated in the state that soundly voted for the saffron party.
During his two stints as chief minister, the hill state saw significant infrastructure developments, particularly of roads. He also oversaw the development of new railway lines as well.
While most exit poll surveys indicated BJP's return to power in the November 9 assembly polls, political observers said it was a neck-and-neck contest between the Congres and the party.
The hill state witnessed a record 75.28 per cent turnout and adequate security arrangements have been made for counting which would start simultaneously in all 68 constituencies at 42 counting centres
Bharatiya Janata Party chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal said that he is confident of the party's victory with majority, in the ongoing Himachal Pradesh Assembly election.
Himachal Pradesh today recorded its highest polling in assembly elections with 74 per cent of voters exercising their franchise, the Election Commission said.
The BJP is carpet-bombing the Kangra valley with rallies by top leaders, in an indication that it could again play a key role in deciding the winner of the November 9 Himachal Pradesh elections.
The election is a big test for the incumbent Congress to retain one of the few states in which it is power.
Even while half the population of Himachal Pradesh is aged between 18-40, the electoral battle in Shimla has been confined to two elders Virbhadra Singh, 83, and BJP's Prem Kumar Dhumal, 73.