SHIMLA: The BJP’s overwhelming victory in Gujarat has sent shivers along Congress aisles here, though chief minister Virbhadra Singh claimed on Sunday people in Himachal Pradesh would give a positive vote for development efforts, the way it was done in Gujarat. Counting of votes in the state would take place on December 28.
Senior Congress leaders in the state, however, feel anti-incumbency might emerge as a strong factor against the party. A former minister said though the Gujarat results have had no direct bearing on Himachal yet, it would dampen the spirits of the Congress here, which contested the election with its back to the wall.
SP Jain, BJP’s national observer in the state, struck an optimistic note saying the party would repeat its feat in Himachal as well, though here it would ride heavy on the anti-incumbency factor.
The Congress has, meanwhile, sought to distance itself from revenue minister Sat Mahajan who filed a petition in the high court demanding that the counting of votes be deferred till March 9, when the term of the present House expires.
While the state Congress leaders said it was an individual decision of the minister, who has not contested the election, the party’s central leadership said it has not been consulted on the move.
Senior party leader RK Dhawan, in charge of the state, said he had no knowledge of the petition and had come to know of it only through media reports. Dhawan said he had not spoken to the state leaders on the issue.
Mahajan, in his petition filed a day after the polling ended in the state, sought directions from the court to the Election Commission (EC) that the scheduled counting for December 28 be deferred till March to enable the existing House to complete its full term, which ends on March 9.
He raised a statutory question of whether the EC has powers to send a note to the Governor to constitute a new Assembly on the completion of the poll process even before the five-year tenure of the existing House ends.