By : Mohan Verma
In a major set back to the 17-months-old Virbhadra Singh’s government in Himachal Pradesh, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has swept the general elections in the state by winning the four Parliamentary and one Assembly seats for which the counting has ended this afternoon.
Veteran BJP candidate Shanta Kumar has been elected from Kangra Parliamenary constituency when he defeated his nearest rival Chander Kumar of INC by a margin of 1,70,072 votes. Mr. Shanta Kumar got 4,56,163 votes while Mr. Chander Kumar secured 2,86,091 votes.
From Shimla Parliamentary constituency, Mr. Virender Kashyap of BJP defeated his nearest rival Mr. Mohan Lal Brakta of INC by a margin of 84187 votes. Mr. Kashyap got 3,85,973 votes whereas Mohan Lal Brakta got 3,01,786 votes.
In Mandi Parliamentary constituency, Ram Swaroop Sharma of BJP defeated Mrs. Pratibha Singh of INC by a margin of 39,856 votes. Mrs. Pratibha Singh secured 3,22,968 votes whereas Mr. Ram Swaroop Sharma got 3,62,824 votes.
The Congress candidate defeat caused an embarrassment for Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh as his wife had lost the seat. In the 2013 by-poll, Mrs. Pratibha Singh had won the seat by a margin of 1,36,724 votes. The seat was vacated by Virbhadra Singh after he assumed charge as Chief Minister.
From Hamirpur Parliamentary Constituency, sitting MP Anurag Thakur of BJP defeated Mr. Rajender Singh Rana of INC by a margin of 98,403 votes.
Mr. Anurag Thakur, son of former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal managed 4,48,035 votes while Mr. Rana got 3,49,632 votes. In the by-election to Sujanpur Assembly constituency, Mr. Narinder Thakur of BJP defeated Mrs. Anita Kumari Rana of INC by a margin of 538 votes in a photo finish.
Mr. Narinder Thakur got 22,993 votes while Mrs. Anita got 22,455 votes.
The Election Commission has officially declared the results.