In Himachal Pradesh, Change is the Only Constant as Anti-Incumbency Gets Clear Mandate | Data Analysis

Change has been the only constant in Himachal Pradesh as no incumbent government ever returned to power in the state, except in 1985, Election Commission data analysed by News18 shows. Further, data also revealed that the state believes in giving a clear mandate, almost always.

Between the 1993 elections and the 2012 polls, the post of the chief minister rotated between Congress’ Virbhadra Singh and BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal. Singh, who passed away in July 2021, was the longest serving chief minister of the state and ruled for more than 21 years — 1983-1990; 1993-1998; 2003-2007; and 2012-2017.

BJP entered into the political picture of Himachal Pradesh in the 1982 elections. But even before that, the change in the ruling party could be seen in the state.

Himachal Pradesh became a full state in 1971 and since then, it has seen 11 elections until 2017. The total assembly seats in the state since then has been 68. In the 1972 polls, the state elected Congress to power as the party won 53 seats and 53.24 per cent vote share.

In the next election in 1977, Congress was reduced to just nine seats and 32.43 per cent vote share. On the other hand, the Janata Party emerged as the clear winner with 53 seats and 49.01 per cent vote share.

In 1982, Congress, which won 31 seats, had to take help from Independent candidates to form the government. Its vote share was 43.10 per cent. BJP emerged as the second-largest party with 29 seats. These were the first assembly polls for the BJP in the state.

In 1985, in an exception, the Congress returned to power with a clear majority as it bagged 58 seats and the BJP was reduced to just seven seats.

Post the 1985 polls, the state never elected the same party back-to-back. In 1990, Congress was reduced to just nine seats while BJP took 46. Next time, Congress got 52 seats in 1993 polls and emerged as the clear winner.

In the 1998 polls, the hill state gave equal seats to both Congress and BJP — 31 each. It was the second time when the state did not give a clear mandate. However, BJP formed the government with the help of an ally and Dhumal was appointed chief minister for the first time. As mentioned earlier, the chief minister’s post kept rotating between Dhumal and Singh until 2017 when BJP appointed Jai Ram Thakur after Dhumal lost his seat in the polls.

All eyes will now be on the 2022 assembly poll results on December 8 to see if the state continues these trends.​

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