The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh is all set to retain all the four Lok Sabha seats in the state as its candidates were leading by over 1.75 votes each, as per trends of counting of ballots on Thursday, election officials said.
Hamirpur sitting MP Anurag Thakur, Kangra candidate Kishan Kapoor, Shimla's Suresh Kashyap and Mandi's sitting MP Ram Swaroop Sharma have maintained a lead against their nearest Congress rivals.
This is likely to be the fourth consecutive victory for Anurag Thakur, the former chief of the national cricket bodies. He is leading by over 2.24 lakh votes against Congress legislator Ram Lal Thakur.
Counting of 38 lakh votes for the Shimla, Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra parliamentary seats began at 8 a.m. amid tight security.
A total of 38,01,793 voters -- 72.25 per cent of 52,62,126 eligible ones -- exercised their franchise on May 19 in a single phase to select their representatives to the 17th Lok Sabha.
Forty-five candidates, including a lone woman, are in the fray from the four seats.
With the electorate in the Lok Sabha polls traditionally favouring the party at the helm in the state, these elections are being seen as a referendum on the state's 17-month-old Jai Ram Thakur government.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had won all the four seats.
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