The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wrests power from Congress in Himachal Pradesh with leads in a majority of seats as the ruling party stares at a loss, according to Election Commission (EC) trends.

ALSO READ: For whom the bell tolls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh witnessed a record 75.28% voter turnout in the 9 November election. Exit polls had predicted a BJP victory. The final seat tally will emerge as the day progresses.

■ 8.56pm: Himachal Pradesh Health and Family Welfare minister Kaul Singh lost in Darang. His daughter Champa Thakur lost against BJP’s Anil Sharma in Mandi. (ANI)

■ 8.45 pm: Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti lost against Congress’ Satpal Singh Raizada in Una. (ANI)

Click here for constituency-wise map for Himachal election results

Here are the latest updates and developments from Himachal elections results:

7:30 pm:BJP has reached the halfway mark by winning 34 out of 68 seats.

7:10 pm:BJP is ahead in 44 seats including victories in 33 seats. Congress has won 17 so far and was leading in another 4 constituencies. CPI(M) and an independent have won one seats each.

6:15 pm:Congress leader and Himachal Pradesh’s outgoing chief minister Virbhadra Singh won the Arki assembly seat in Solan, defeating Rattan Singh Pal of the BJP. The 83-year-old party leader won by a margin of 6,051 votes. He polled 34,499 votes against Pal’s 28,448.

5:50 pm: BJP has won 27 seats and is leading in another 17 while Congress has so far only 14 seats in its kitty. It is leading in another 7 seats.

5:00 pm: Currently, BJP has won 21 seats and still leading in 23 while Congress has won 12 and leading in 9.

4:50 pm: BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal says, “Personal loss is not of much importance.The gain that victory has brought to state BJP is important."

4.40 pm: BJP’s CM candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, fighting the Sujanpur constituency, has conceded defeat against Congress’s Rajinder Rana, reports NDTV.

4. 35 pm: BJP has now won 17 seats and still leading in 27 while Congress has won 10 and leading in 11.

4.30 pm: Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweets “The Congress party accepts the verdict of the people and congratulates the new governments in both states. I thank the people of Gujarat and Himachal with all my heart for the love they showed me."

4.20 pm: BJP president Amit Shah says, “We have once again emerged triumphant. I offer heartfelt gratitude to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh that they gave us anther opportunity to serve them. This is a victory of development over dynasty and polarisation. The 2/3rd lead in Himachal Pradesh shows that people there want to join PM Narendra Modi in the journey to development."

4.10 pm: BJP has now won 14 seats and still leading in 30 while Congress has won 8 and leading in 13. Others have got 2.

4.10 pm: BJP’s Balbir Singh Verma beats Congress leader Subhash Chand Manglate by a margin of 4,587 votes in Bopal.

4.05 pm: Congress MLA Ram Kumar fails to defend his seat as BJP’s Paramjeet Singh wins by 4,319 votes in Doon.

4.00 pm: According to an ANI report, chief minister Virbhadra Singh says, “I accept the victory of BJP. I, being the CM, take full responsibility of our performance here. I hope Vikramaditya (Singh) keeps winning in future, like he won today."

3.50 pm: BJP has now won 11 seats and still leading in 33 while Congress has won 7 and leading in 14.

3.40 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims victory, says “I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly."

3.20 pm: BJP is ahead in 45 seats out of which it has already won 8 in its kitty. Congress, which has so far won 4 seats, is leading in 49 seats. BJP’s vote share stands at 48.4% while Congress is behind at 42% share.

3.05 pm: In Sri Renukaji seat, Congress leader Vinay Kumar retained his seat by defeating his nearest rival Balbir Singh of BJP by 5,160 votes.

3.00 pm:In Churah, BJP’s sitting MLA Hans Raj retained his seat. He won by 4,994 votes against Congress leader Surender Bhardwaj.

2.50 pm: According to EC, BJP leads in 39 seats, apart from 5 wins while Congress leads 18, with two wins.

2.45 pm: Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman called the election a major victory. “The kind of work which Party workers have done right from booth workers level till PM’s level, everybody put their best foot forward and both Gujarat & Himachal Pradesh have recognised the good work going on in the name of development," she added.

2.40 pm: BJP’s Kishan Kapoor beats sitting Congress MLA Sudhir Sharma by 2,997 votes in Dharamshala.

2.30 pm: Currently, Congress is leading in 19 seats, with two more wins while BJP leads in 40, apart from 4 wins.

2.00 pm: Sitting Congress MLA Rohit Thakur failed to retain his seat as BJP’s Narinder Bragta defeated him by 1,062 votes in Jubbal-Kotkhai constituency.

1.50 pm: BJP is leading in 40 seats, apart from 3 wins while Congress is leading in 19, with two more wins.

1.45 pm: CPI(M) leader Rakesh Singha defeats BJP’s Rakesh Verma by 1,983 votes in Theog constituency.

1.35 pm: Congress’s Harshwardhan Chauhan defeats sitting BJP MLA Baldev Singh by 4,125 votes in Shillai.

1.20 pm: BJP leader Ram Lal Markanda defeats Congress’s Ravi Thakur in Lahaul & Spiti constituency by 1,478 votes.

12.50 pm: BJP maintains its lead in 40 seats and wins 2. Congress wins 1 and leads in 21, according to EC.

12.10 pm: BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal still trailing Congress’s Rajinder Rana in Sujanpur.

12.00 pm: BJP’s Suresh Bhardwaj wins against independent candidate Harish Janartha by a margin of 1,903 votes in Shimla.

11.50 am: In Anni, BJP’s Kishori Lal defeats Paras Ram of Congress by 5,983 votes.

11.40 am: BJP workers celebrate at party office in Shimla as trends indicate victory in Himachal Pradesh reports ANI.

11.20 am: BJP is currently leading in 43 seats while Congress is ahead on 20, reports NDTV. Others are leading in 5.

11.12 am: Congress candidate Anirudh Singh has defeated BJP’s Vijay Jyoti by a margin of 9,397 votes from the Kasumpti constituency .

11.05 am: Markets recover after steep fall earlier with Sensex trading higher by 279.56 points, or 0.84% at 33,742.53 points. Nifty up 94.05 points, or 0.91%, to 10,427.30 points. Read more

10.55 am: Union home minister Rajnath Singh said the results were an approval of the Modi government’s policies, reports PTI.

■ 10.40am: Past the halfway mark, BJP is now leading in 42 seats while Congress is ahead on 22, reports NDTV. Others are leading in 4.

10.20 am: “I am sure in the end Congress will be victorious and form Government in the state" says Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh, contesting from Shimla Rural.

10.15 am: BJP now leading in 39 seats, a comfortable lead over Congress which is leading in 23, reports NDTV. Others are leading in 6.

9.55 am: Key Congress leaders—Virbhadra Singh, Vikramaditya Singh and Rajinder Rana—are currently leading in Himachal Pradesh. Rana is leading against BJP’s CM candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal.

9.49 am: Markets have fallen on the election results with Sensex trading lower by 131.97 points, or 0.39% at 33,331 points. Nifty down 39.75 points, or 0.38%, to 10,293.50 points.

9.43 am: BJP now leading in 41 seats, ahead of the halfway mark. Congress leading in 23 while others in 4.

9.30 am: EC official trends show BJP leading in 35 seats, Congress in 16 while others in 3.

9.25 am: BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal trailing in Sujanpur constituency, reports ANI.

9.15 am: BJP now leading in 22 seats while Congress leading in 14, reports NDTV. Others leading in 2.

9.10 am: Chief minister and Congress leader Virbhadra Singh leading in Arki constituency, reports NDTV. BJP’s Kishori Lal leading in Anni.

9.00 am: In the first hour, of the 68 seats, BJP takes the lead in 15 while Congress is ahead in 7. Others leading in 1.

8.52 am: BJP leading in Jaisinghpur seat in Himachal, reports NDTV. Congress had won the seat in 2012.

8.45 am: BJP increases its lead to 12 seats now while Congress ahead in 4, reports NDTV. Others leading in 1.

8.40 am: BJP leading in 6 seats, Congress in 2 as leads are now up for 9 out of 68 seats, reports NDTV.

■ 8.30 am: BJP ahead in 2 seats while Congress leading in 1, reports NDTV.

First lead: Congress takes the first lead in Himachal Pradesh, reports NDTV. Counting of votes underway.

8.10 am: Postal ballots de-sealed by officials at a counting centre in Shimla’s Sanjauli, reports ANI.

8.00 am: Counting of votes for Himachal election results begins in 42 counting centres.

■ 6.00 am: Counting of votes for Himachal election results to begin at 8 am in 42 counting centres.

BJP, Congress both claim victory in Himachal Pradesh elections

Shimla: Hours before the counting of votes, both ruling Congress and the BJP claimed victory in Himachal Pradesh elections. While the Congress dismissed the exit poll results, which predicted a BJP victory, the saffron party expressed confidence that their performance would better projections.

Chief minister Virbhadra Singh said the Himachal election results would be the opposite of exit polls. projections. “I am confident that ‘mission repeat’ would be achieved and tall claims made by the BJP would be proved wrong," he told reporters. BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal, on the other hand, was highly optimistic and said the election results would be same as projected in the exit polls. Dhumal said the Congress was upset with the exit polls and was making vague statements. “In fact, the BJP would win more seats than projected in exit polls," he said. Dhumal was declared BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for Himachal Pradesh towards the end of the election campaign. (PTI)

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