Shimla, May 23, 2019-
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday retained all the four Lok Sabha seats in the state as its candidates won by a record huge margins, election officials said.
Hamirpur sitting MP Anurag Thakur, Kangra candidate Kishan Kapoor, Shimla candidate Suresh Kashyap and Mandi sitting MP Ram Swaroop Sharma won their seats by defeating their nearest Congress rivals.
The main contest was between the Congress and the BJP.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur thanked all the voters for the landslide victory of the party.
He told reporters here that the victory confirms that people have expressed faith and confidence in the programmes and policies of his government.
For former chief of the national cricket bodies Anurag Thakur this was the fourth consecutive victory. He won by over 3.81 lakh votes against Congress legislator Ram Lal Thakur.
From Kangra, the largest Lok Sabha constituency in the state in terms of voters, the BJP had fielded Cabinet Minister Kishan Kapoor, 68, after dropping veteran leader Shanta Kumar, against two-time Congress legislator Pawan Kajal, 44.
Kapoor defeated Kajal by a margin of more than 4.47 lakh votes.
In the Shimla (reserved) seat, it was an ex-serviceman versus an ex-serviceman.
Colonel Dhani Ram Shandil (retired), 78, who was the Congress candidate, lost by over 3.23 lakh votes to BJP nominee and former Indian Air Force (IAF) officer Suresh Kashyap, 48.
Sitting BJP MP and the Chief Minister’s confidant Ram Swaroop Sharma won the seat for a second term from Mandi. He was contesting against Congress greenhorn Ashray Sharma, who is the grandson of former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram.
Ram Swaroop Sharma retained the seat by a margin of more than 3.63 lakh votes.
Sukh Ram, a Congress veteran, had joined the BJP just before the Assembly elections, but defected back after his grandson was denied a ticket.
Counting of 38 lakh votes for the Shimla, Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra parliamentary seats began at 8 a.m. amid tight security.
A total of 38,01,793 voters — 72.25 per cent of 52,62,126 eligible ones — exercised their franchise on May 19 in a single phase to select their representatives to the 17th Lok Sabha.
Forty-five candidates, including a lone woman, were in the fray from the four seats.
With the electorate in the Lok Sabha polls traditionally favouring the party at the helm in the state, these elections were being seen as a referendum on the state’s 17-month-old Jai Ram Thakur government.
The BJP wrested the state from the Congress in December 2017, winning 44 seats in the 68-member Assembly. The Congress won 21 seats, Independents two and the Communist Party of India-Marxist won one. (Agency)