Barring Aaj Tak-Axis My India, all others projected a BJP win in Himachal, though by a slender edge. No incumbent government has retained power in Himachal since 1985.
The poll of nine polls—Aaj Tak-Axis My India; ABP News-C Voter; India TV-Matrize; News 24-Today’s Chanakya; News X-Jan Ki Baat; Republic TV-P Marq; Times Now-ETG; TV 9 Gujarati; Zee News-BARC—projected an average of 35 seats for the BJP, just enough to touch the majority mark in the 68-member state Assembly and 30 for the Congress.
AAP is predicted to be a non-starter in Himachal by exit poll projections, which give the Arvind Kejriwal led party a duck with the state in-charge Satyendar Jain lodged in Tihar Jail in the Delhi excise policy scam.
If exit polls hold, the BJP, powered by a personalised campaign in Himachal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would have created history by becoming the first government since 1985 to retain power, same as it did in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand where incumbents have been historically voted out for years.
The Congress, by exit poll projections, could lose Himachal despite flagging issues of life and livelihood and old pension scheme against Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur-led BJP government.