New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday got an absolute majority in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, winning 40 seats.

On the other hand, the outgoing BJP’s seat share was reduced to 25.

Acknowledging the adverse mandate, outgoing Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, under whose leadership the BJP went into the polls, told the media here: “I respect the people’s mandate and I want to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Central leadership during last five years. We will stand for the development of the state irrespective of politics. We will also analyse our shortcomings and improve during the next term.”

Thakur, who was banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma, submitted his resignation to the Governor, who accepted it.

Many of the outgoing ministers including Suresh Bhardwaj, Ram Lal Markanda, Sarveen Chaudhary, Rakesh Pathania, Govind Thakur, Virender Kanwar, and Rajiv Saizal lost the election.

Three Independents, comprising two BJP rebels and one Congress, emerged victorious.

Himachal Pradesh has not voted any incumbent government back to power since 1985.

Prominent victorious Congress leaders included journalist-turned-politician and prospective Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, former state party chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, former Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma, Rajinder Singh Rana, Col. Dhani Ram Shandil, and Vikramaditya Singh, son of six-time Chief Minister late Virbhadra Singh.

Six-time Congress MLA Asha Kumari lost her stronghold Dalhousie from her nearest rival and BJP candidate D.S. Thakur by a margin of 9,918 votes. Asha Kumari was among the Chief Ministerial probables.

In the 2017 assembly elections, the BJP had won 44 seats and the Congress 21, with one seat going to CPI-M, and two to Independent candidates.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who didn’t campaign in the state, thanked the voters for the Congress’ win.

“Heartfelt thanks to the people of Himachal Pradesh for this decisive victory. Hearty congratulations to all Congress workers and leaders. Your hard work and dedication really deserves the best wishes for this victory. I assure you again, every promise made to the public will be fulfilled at the earliest,” he said.

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