Dharamshala: Celebrations spilled over the streets on Thursday as the BJP won Dharamsala and Pachhad assembly seat in the Himachal Pradesh by-polls 2019. The two assembly seats – Pachhad and Dharamshala – went to by-polls on Monday and witnessed voter turnout of nearly 69 per cent in total.

BJP’s Vishal Nehriya defeated his nearest rival Rakesh Kumar, an independent candidate by 6,758 votes. Congress candidate Vijay Inder Karan was in third place. Meanwhile, in Pachhad, Reena Kashyap of the BJP swamped over her nearest rival Gangu Ram Musafir of the Congress with 22048 votes, by a margin of 2,742votes, as independent candidate Dayal Pyari trailed with 11,651 votes.

A total of 202 polling stations were set up for the two Assembly seats, with 113 polling stations in Pachhad, and 89 in Dharamshala.

The BJP had fielded former Sirmor Zila Parishad member Reena Kashyap from Pachhad constituency to go against Congress veteran leader Gangu Ram Musafir.

At the same time, from Dharamshala, the BJP fielded candidate Vishal Nehriya, who is also the youth wing state secretary of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM). Nehriya is pitted against Congress leader Vijay Inder Karan.

The Himachal Pradesh by-polls are being looked at as a test for Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur as the sitting BJP government aims to not only retain but also increase their vote margin. On the other hand, the opposition Congress has also shown confidence in winning the two seats.

The by-elections in the Himachal Pradesh seats were necessitated after BJP MLAs Suresh Kashyap and Kishan Kapoor, from Pachhad and Dharamshala respectively, were elected in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 held in May this year.

In the previous Assembly elections held in December 2017, BJP’s Suresh Kashyap had defeated his nearest rival Former Minister Musafir with a margin of 6,427 votes in Pachhad.

Meanwhile, in Dharamshala, Kishan Kapoor of the BJP swamped over Congress’ Sudhir Sharma by 2,997 votes.