Shimla, December 8
BJP candidate DS Thakur defeated six-time Congress MLA Asha Kumari in Himachal Pradesh's Dalhousie assembly seat by a margin of 9,918 votes, according to the Election Commission.
Asha Kumari was among the chief ministerial probables in Himachal Pradesh with trends showing the Congress surging ahead of the BJP on 39 of the total 68 seats in the hill state.
Dalhousie in Chamba district was in focus after veteran Congress leader and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s aide Harsh Mahajan joined the BJP and queered the pitch for arch-rival Kumari.
His support to Thakur was a boost for the BJP which was looking to retain power in the hill state, breaking the tradition of government being changed every five years in the state.
Mahajan is the son of former Congress stalwart Des Raj Mahajan who was assembly speaker twice and had won from Dalhousie constituency in 1967, 1972 and 1982.
Kumari, who is from the erstwhile royal family of Chamba, was elected for the first time in 1985 and got reelected in 1993, 1998, 2003, 2012 and 2017. The former Congress in-charge of Punjab and an ex-minister, Kumari is the tallest leader in the district.
In 2012, Kumari defeated her BJP rival Renu Chadda with a margin of 7,365 but in 2017, her victory margin against Thakur was reduced to 556.
In the Dalhousie seat, which has an 89.78 per cent rural population, poor condition of roads, staff shortage lack of infrastructure in health facilities and educational institutions were the major poll issues.
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