As the early trends of Himachal Pradesh election results seem to be confirming the exit polls’ prediction of a neck-and-neck fight between the BJP and Congress, sources told The Quint that the Congress has deputed senior party leaders Bhupinder Hooda and Bhupesh Baghel to prevent any chances of poaching of its to-be-elected MLAs.
There are over half a dozen rebels in the Congress who are disgruntled over not being given a ticket by the high command. Hooda and Baghel have been assigned the responsibility to not let the rebels be capitalised by the BJP in their attempts to form the government. It is expected that whichever party wins would do so with a narrow margin. In the case that it is a hung Assembly, the chances of last-minute horse-trading increases.
Sources also said that once the results are clearer, Congress MLAs might be moved to a resort in Rajasthan.
The BJP is hoping to reverse the trend of Himachal Pradesh alternating between the BJP and Congress every Assembly election since 1985, which would require overcoming anti-incumbency in the state. Meanwhile the Congress, which has led a mostly localised campaign in the state this year, is banking on constituency-based issues to help it inch towards victory.