Sunday, March 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Cong captures power in HP
Wins 40 seats; 16 go to BJP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, March 1
The Congress in Himachal Pradesh won 40 out of the 65 Vidhan Sabha seats election for which was held on February 26. The ruling BJP could win only 16 seats, whereas its coalition partner, the Himachal Vikas Congress, secured only one seat.

Prominent Congress leaders Mr Virbhadra Singh, a former chief minister, Mrs Vidya Stokes, Pradesh Congress Committee Chief and Mr Sat Mahajan, a former PCC Chief, registered impressive wins. Most of the ministers in the Dhumal government were defeated.

Mr P.K. Dhumal, Himachal Chief Minister retained his Bamsen seat by over 15000 votes but the members of his cabinet comprising Mr Praveen Sharma, Excise Minister, Mr J.P. Nadda, Health Minister, Mr Jaikrishan Sharma, the state BJP Chief and Mr Rakesh Pathania, vice-chairman of the state Tourism Development Corporation, were defeated.

In fact, barring Mr Ramesh Dhwala, Irrigation Minister, Mr Ishwar Das Dhiman, Education Minister, Mr Hari Narain Singh, Town and Country Planning minister and Mr Ravinder Ravi, Minister for Technical Education, all ministers of the Dhumal Government last. Even Mr Vidya Sagar, Agriculture Minister, who resigned from the Dhumal Cabinet and fought as an Independent from Kangra was defeated.

Mr Sukh Ram, Himachal Vikas Congress chief, retained his Mandi seat, but his party has virtually been as wiped out. The HVC leaders, Mr Mansa Ram and Mr Prakash Chaudhary, who were ministers in the Dhumal government for five years, were among the prominent losers.

Mr Mohinder Singh, who had parted company with Mr Sukh Ram and floated a new outfit the Him Lok Tantrik Morcha, also retained his Dharampur seat.

Other prominent BJP leaders who lost the election included Mr Kishori Lal, Industries Minister, Mr Roop Singh, Forest Minister, Mr Krishan Kapoor, Transport Minister, Mr Rikhi Ram Kaundal, Minister for Cooperation, Mr Roop Singh, Forest Minister, Mr Krishan Kapoor, Transport Minister, Mr Rikhi Ram Kaundal, Minister for Cooperation, Mr Narender Bragta, Horticulture Minister, Mr Roop Das Kashyap, Urban Development Minister, Mr Mohan Lal, Ayurveda Minister, Mr Karan Singh, Minister for Primary Education. Dr Rajan Sushant, Revenue Minister, Mrs Urmil Thakur, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mrs Sarveen Chaudhary, Parliamentary Secretary.

Mr Virbhadra Singh defeated Mr Khushi Ram Balnatah (BJP) by 17,133 votes in Rohru, while Mr Dhumal defeated Mr Kuldeep Pathania by 15,898 votes to retain his Bamsen seat. Mrs Vidya Stokes defeated Dr Pramod Sharma, a Congress rebel by 4,271 votes, in Kumarsain. The BJP candidate, Mr Sandeep, came a poor third with 8,173 votes.

Mr Sukh Ram retained his Mandi seat by defeating Mr D.D. Thakur of the Congress by over 12,000 votes. Rani Kiran Kumari (BJP) ended up at the third place.

Mr Sat Mahajan, an ex-PCC chief defeated Mr Rakesh Pathania (BJP) by about 9,500 votes to wrest his traditional Nurpur seat.

Mr Praveen Sharma, Excise Minister, lost to Mr Rakesh Kalia (Congress) by over 10,900 votes and Mr J.P. Nadda, Health Minister, was also defeated by a green horn Mr Tilak Raj (Congress) by 2,726 votes.

Six rebels, three each of the BJP and the Congress, entered the Vidhan Sabha. The Congress rebels included Mr Sohan Lal (Kusumpati), Mr Kuldeep Pathania, (Bhatiyat) and Dr Biru Ram (Geharwin). Mr Navin Dhiman (Pragpur), Mr Rakesh Verma (Theog) and Dr Subhash Manglet (Chopal) were the successful BJP rebels.

The Lok Jan Shakti managed to open its account with Mr Sadanand Chauhan winning the Nahan seat by defeating Mr Kush Parmar of the Congress by 1,191 votes.

The BJP had 35 seats in the 68 members Vidhan Sabha. The congress had 26 members, two of the HVC, one Independent and two unattached members. Besides, two seats which fell vacant due to death of Congress legislators Mr Ram Lal and Mr J.B.L. Khachi, had not been filled.

Agencies add Speaker Ghulab Chand Thakur and BJP’s state unit president Jai Kishan Sharma, also lost. Mr Sukh Ram was the sole winner of the HVC. Six parties like the CPM, the CPI, the BSP, the SP and the NCP drew a blank.

The BJP suffered a loss of 19 seats while the Congress, which had 26 seats gained 14.

Polling for three constituencies in the state would be held in June due to inclement weather.

The BJP suffered major losses in Kangra district losing eight seats with Transport Minister Krishan Kapoor and Revenue Minister Rajan Sushant losing to their Congress rivals. The BJP lost the Sulah, Shahpur, Dharamsala, Baijnath, Gangath Jwali, Nurpur and Kangra to Congress while a BJP rebel Naveen Dhiman defeated the official candidate from Pragpur.

The Vidhan Sabha Speaker Gulab Singh, who had contested as BJP candidate, Deputy Speaker Ram Dass Malangar and state BJP Chief Jai Krishan Sharma were among the prominent BJP lossers.

Prominent Congress lossers included former Ministers Viplov Thakur, Satya Prakash Thakur and Kashmir Singh, Kangra DCC chief Milkhi Ram Goma and senior Congress leader and son of late Dr Y.S. Parmar, Kush Parmar.

The Congress which had only four seats in Mandi district increased its tally to six with former Speaker Kaul Singh, former Minister Rangilla Ram registering impressive wins.

Mr Mohinder Singh, who had won the 1998 elections on HVC ticket but later floated his own party after he was dropped from the cabinet, retained his Dharampur seat in Mandi district. The HVC chief Sukh Ram won the Mandi seat by over 12,000 votes.

The BJP and Congress rebels also fared well with Subhash Chand, Rakesh Verma and Naveen Dhiman defeating the official BJP candidates in Chopal, Theog and Pragpur constituencies while the Congress rebels Sohan Lal, Kuldeep Singh Pathania and Biru Ram winning from Kusumpti. Bhatiyat and Gherwin constituencies.

Of the 10 women candidates fielded by the Congress, four, including HPCC president Vidya Stokes and All-India Mahila Congress president Chandresh Kumari have won while all five women candidates fielded by the BJP have lost.

The strength of the women members would be reduced from six to four in the new Vidhan Sabha.

Of the 61 members of the dissolved House who had contested the elections, only 31 have been reelected while 30 of them have lost.

There were eight candidates from erstwhile ruling families of which only three have won. The winners included former Chief Minister V.B. Singh, Former Minister Asha Kumari and All-India Mahila Congress President Chandresh Kumari won the elections while Yoginder Chand, Sukriti Kumari, Karan Singh, Rani Kiran Kumari and Raja Mohinder Pal have been defeated.


Prominent winners

Virbhadra Singh 

Vidya Stokes

Prem Kumar Dhumal 

Sukh Ram



Prominent losers

Parveen Sharma

J.P. Nadda

Jai Kishan 

 Kishori Lal


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