Shimla: BJP Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is seeking to defy anti-incumbency and history. Since 1977, no party has ever been voted back to power in Himachal Pradesh. But the race for the state which went to polls on November 4 is too close to call, as CNN-IBN-The Week post poll found. Both Congress and the BJP are projected to get 29 to 35 seats in the 68 member Assembly. Others are projected to get two to six seats.
In terms of vote share, the post poll predicts that the Congress will win 41 per cent votes, up 2 per cent from 2007. The BJP is down 4 per cent from 2007 to 40 per cent votes and the others will get 19 per cent votes. In the face of such a close call, it is the Independents and the others who may hold the key to the formation of the government. But the Congress believes otherwise.
"I think the Independents have damaged the BJP more than the Congress," said Vijay Singh Mankhotia, a Congress leader. The poll also found that Congress's Virbhadra Singh is the more preferred choice for chief ministerial candidate despite corruption scandals plaguing him.
Nearly 41 per cent of voters preferred Virbhadra Singh, while BJP's PK Dhumal was only preferred by 35 per cent. But who will be the ultimate winner? We'll have to wait till the 20th to find out.