As the trends of the Election Commission of India (ECI) show Congress winning the Assembly elections of Himachal Pradesh in a neck-to-neck contest, the party leaders and members here expressed gratitude to the citizens here.
So far, till 3.23 pm, Congress has won as many as 16 Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh, it is leading in 23 more seats. Bharatiya Janata Pary (BJP) won 13 seats and is leading in 13 more.
"We express our gratitude to the people of Himachal Pradesh. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra conducted rallies in the state and mobilised the cadre. BJP's politics of breaking away people won't work, hence Congress has got a majority. BJP will split in the state," Congress leader Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said after leading from the Nadaun Assembly seat with a total of 36,142 votes.
Meanwhile, the party workers started celebrating its anticipated victory at its Delhi office after it crossed the majority mark of leading in 35 seats in Himachal Pradesh during the ongoing counting of votes.
Reiterating its promises as mentioned in the manifesto before undergoing pollings in the state, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said, "We will implement 10 guarantees in the state. We are not afraid of 'Operation Lotus', if these figures continue then there won't be any such situation."
"Bhupinder Singh Hooda is already in Chandigarh. Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and I will be going to Chandigarh and will be deciding by evening whether to call MLAs to Shimla or Chandigarh," Shukla added.
Meanwhile, MP Anand Sharma expressed happiness about the party's victory in North India after several years.
"Old Pension Scheme had been demanded by other states too. In Himachal Pradesh, it was demanded by government employees and their staff. The reasons will be analysed but Congress has won in north India after several years," Congress MP Anand Sharma said.
"This will boost morale and influence other states too. When the election comes next year - in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh - you will see that a message has been sent," he said further.
Reacting to the trends by ECI, Himachal Congress President took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the hill state and said: "Modi ji visited Himachal Pradesh a number of times, but could he make a dent here? BJP knew it would lose in the State and that is why PM Modi visited the state again and again."
"People have given us the mandate, there is no need to fear. We can meet (our MLAs) anywhere including Chandigarh or in the state. Those who have won will be with us and we will form the government," Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu added.
Counting votes for Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh began at 8 am on Thursday.In Himachal, there are 68 counting halls in 59 locations across the state.
The elections for 68 assembly seats in the state were held on November 12 and around 75.6 per cent polling percentage was recorded.
The hill state witnessed an intense campaign with BJP trying to return to power for a second consecutive term and Congress backing on its '10 guarantees' that the party listed out in its manifesto to take them home. The emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party as the third major political force in the state has intensified the electoral battle.
Besides these three, parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Rashtriya Devbhumi Party (RDP) are also in the fray.
Notably, in the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP formed the government by winning 44 seats while Congress secured 21 seats. (ANI)