2.11pm I think factionalism has affected our performance in Gujarat. It is largely internal problems rather than Congress going for a landslide victory: Arun Jaitley
1.25pm: We have won a decisive victory in Himachal Pradesh, says Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal.
Shimla: Himachal horticulture minister Narinder Bragata has been defeated from Jubbal and Kotkhai Seat in Shimla district.
He lost to Rohit Thakur of Congress by about 8,000 votes.
Education minister Ishwar Dass Dhiman retained his Bhoranj seat defeating Romesh Chand of Congress by 10,062 votes.
Rural development and Panchayati Raj Minister Jairam Thakur has won from Seraj. He defeated Tara Thakur of Congress.
State BJP president Satpal Singh Satti retained the Una seat defeating Satpal Singh Raizada of Congress by 4,601 votes.
Leader of opposition in Vidhan Sabha Vidya Stokes has won from Theog.
Shimla: Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister and HPCC president Virbhadra Singh today won from Shimla (Rural) constituency defeating his BJP rival Ishwar Rohal by 19,033 votes.
Singh, who is a strong contender for the post of chief minister, is a sitting member of Lok Sabha.
He had resigned from the Union cabinet after a special Court framed charges against him in a graft a case but the Congress high command appointed him state party president to lead the party in the assembly polls.
New Delhi: BJP today conceded defeat in Himachal Pradesh with senior leader Shanta Kumar saying that the party accepted the poll verdict.
"We accept the verdict. All people in the BJP had fought elections together. The people did not vote for us. We accept it," Shanta Kumar, a former Himachal Pradesh chief minister told reporters in New Delhi.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal appeared prepared to accept the worst.
"Whatever people decide is good. It would be good if they support us, and good even if they don't. I will welcome the decision of people," he said as trends showed a decline in the party's fortunes.
The Congress, which put up a spirited campaign under former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, is all set to return to power in Himachal Pradesh.
The party was leading in 35 seats in the 68-member Assembly. BJP was leading in 23, while 'Others' led in four seats having won in one. Congress had won 23 seats and BJP 41 in the 2007 polls.
12.43pm: "The electorate decides on the life of a government. I pray to God that the new government fulfills their wishes. I congratulate the new government: Prem Kumar Dhumal
12.30pm "We had a good team, a good PCC president. People wanted change. They prefer inclusive growth as we have in the Congress model unlike the Gujarat model": Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
12.09pm: Disappointed with Himachal Pradesh results. We shall look into the figures again and introspect. It is defeat of the leadership quality of Prem Kumar Dhumal and the BJP—Balbir Punj.
12.00am Chief Minister Prem Dhumal wins Hamirpur seat. He defeated Narinder Thakur from the Congress.
11.46am: Congress leading in 38 seats. BJP ahead in 24.
11.31am: "We are proud of good governance record of Prem Kumar Dhumal. According to the conventional political tradition in Himachal Pradesh, it is one time BJP, another time Congress."—BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.
"We had some internal problems in Himachal Pradesh. But saying Nitin Gadkari was the reason for it because it hampered us from taking corruption as an issue"—Ravi Shankar Prasad.
11.25am: Himachal Pradesh shows that there is no anti-Congress wave in India: Union Law Minister Ashwini Kumar
11.19am: The Congress is leading in 40 seats while the BJP is leading in 23. The others are ahead in five seats.
11.05am Prem Dhumal is a good party worker: BJP leader from Himachal Pradesh.
11.01am: My mandate was to give victory to the party. We are heading towards that goal with help from our voters. As I said earlier, Congress president Sonia Gandhi will decide on the next chief minister: Congress leader Virbhadra Singh
10.54am Congress is set to retain power in the hill state. With the party currently leading in 38 seats, the cold war in the Congress over the next chief ministerial choice is likely to come to the fore.
10.40am: Himachal Pradesh is not known to return the incumbent government to power. It seems unwilling to part with the tradition. The Congress is set to topple the BJP government led by Prem Kumar Dhumal. It also shows that the corruption charges against Congress leader Virbhadra Singh have not stuck. As the lead trend shows, the Congress is comfortably ahead of the BJP. It was leading in 36 seats compared to BJP’s 25. The halfway mark in the house in 34.
10.39pm: Virbhadra Singh did not comment if he is going to be the next Himachal Pradesh chief minister.
10.18am: Trends suggest the Congress is home and safe in Himachal. It leads in 37 seats, while the BJP lags at 23.
10.12am: Congress, BJP stand at 35-25. Trends for 65 seats available.
9.59am: Pollsters may start smiling now. They, at least some of them, have got it right in hill state Himachal. The Congress is leading in 33 to BJP’s 22. Trends are available for 61 seats.
9.50am: Congress sweep in Himachal? Of the 61 seats for which trends are available, Congress is clearly ahead in 37 seats. BJP slumps to 19.
9.40am Congress extends lead to 31 against 22 of the BJP. Congress leader Vidya Stokes trailing.
9.34am: "Very confident of victory," Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal told NDTV.
9.31am: Now Congress leads in Himachal Prdeash in 26 seats. BJP is leading in 23.
9.30am: "Initial stage mein toh kaante ki takkar hi lag raha hai," Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal told NDTV.
9.20am: After huge leads initially, Congress finally did the catch up with the BJP competing equally at 19:19. Even as we type out this sentence, BJP is ahead in two seats making the tally 22:20.
9.00 am: "I am very sure of a clear victory. My lines are always open to everybody (if an alliance is needed)," Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal told Times Now.
8.30 am: Is Himachal Pradesh set to deliver the pollsters a big snub? The early trends suggest so. Contrary to post-poll predictions, the incumbent BJP seems to be comfortably ahead of the rival Congress. Most post-poll surveys gave a clear thumb down to the BJP, saying its tally would be well below the 34 mark in the 68-member assembly. However, these are early trends and these could be from traditional BJP strongholds. Fingers are crossed at the moment.