#IndiaDecidesOn18th: Counting starts at 8 AM for Gujarat, HP elections
Counting has started at 8 am today for the critical Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, both key tests for BJP and Congress. Single-phased polling in Himachal on November 9 saw an unusually high voter turnout of 74%; meanwhile, in Gujarat, the two-phased polling led to an average turnout of 68.35%, lower than 2012. Exit polls have predicted a BJP win in both states.
Himachal likely to return BJP in accordance with trends
In Himachal, exit polls reveal a massive win for BJP with about 50 seats; the halfway mark in the 68-seat Himachal Assembly is 35. It's not surprising considering the state has returned alternate governments since years. According to Today's Chanakya, BJP is a clear winner vote-share wise too: 51% have voted for BJP, a paltry 38% for Congress and 11% for others.
In Gujarat, Congress might be reduced to below 50
Exit polls for Gujarat predicted a clear win for the BJP with about 110 seats, just five short of the 115 it won in 2012. This will be way above the 92-seat majority mark in the 182-member assembly. Chanakya, which got the 2014 prediction right, says Congress will be reduced to just 47! However, predictions for BJP are less than its targeted 150.