Shimla, May 23 (IANS) The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday retained all the four Lok Sabha seats in the state as its candidates won by a record huge margins, election officials said.
Hamirpur sitting MP Anurag Thakur, Kangra candidate Kishan Kapoor, Shimla candidate Suresh Kashyap and Mandi sitting MP Ram Swaroop Sharma won their seats by defeating their nearest Congress rivals.
The main contest in the state was between the Congress and the BJP.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur thanked all the voters for the landslide victory of the party.
He told reporters here that the victory confirms that people have expressed faith and confidence in the programmes and policies of his government.
For the former chief of the national cricket body, Anurag Thakur, this was the fourth consecutive victory. He won by 3.87 lakh votes against Congress legislator Ram Lal Thakur.
From Kangra, the largest Lok Sabha constituency in the state in terms of voters, the BJP had fielded Cabinet Minister Kishan Kapoor, 68, after dropping veteran leader Shanta Kumar, against two-time Congress legislator Pawan Kajal, 44.
Kapoor defeated Kajal by state’s highest margin of more than 4.77 lakh votes.
In the Shimla (reserved) seat, it was an ex-serviceman versus an ex-serviceman. Retired Colonel Dhani Ram Shandil, 78, who was the Congress candidate, lost by over 3.27 lakh votes to BJP nominee and former Indian Air Force (IAF) officer Suresh Kashyap, 48.
Sitting BJP MP and the Chief Minister’s confidante, Ram Swaroop Sharma, won the seat for a second term from Mandi. He was contesting against Congress greenhorn Ashray Sharma, who is the grandson of former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram.
Sharma retained the seat by a margin of more than 4.05 lakh votes.
Sukh Ram, a Congress veteran, had joined the BJP just before the Assembly elections, but defected back after his grandson was denied a ticket.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won the parliamentary elections, while the Congress has lost, said the six-time Chief Minister and Congress leader Virbhadra Singh.
“We have lost, Modi has won,” he told a news channel here.
Congratulating Modi for winning a majority of seats in the country, Singh said it was time for his party to introspect.
Forty-five candidates, including a lone woman, were in the fray for the four seats.
With the state’s electorate in the Lok Sabha polls traditionally favouring the party at the helm, these elections were being seen as a referendum on the state’s 17-month-old Jai Ram Thakur government.
A total of 38,01,793 voters — 72.25 per cent of 52,62,126 eligible ones — exercised their franchise in a single phase on May 19 .
The BJP wrested the state from the Congress in December 2017, winning 44 seats in the 68-member Assembly. The Congress won 21 seats, Independents took two and the Communist Party of India-Marxist won one seat.