Amid high voltage campaigning for bypolls on two assembly segments in Himachal Pradesh, the voters in Himachal Pradesh, historically, has favoured the ruling party over the opposition party.

Since 1952, the state of Himachal Pradesh had witnessed bypolls on 28 assembly segments, of which 16 seats were won ruling party while the opposition and independent candidates won on 12 seats.

The state witnessed the first bypoll in 1952 wherein elections were held in six assembly segments of Solan, Renuka, Bilaspur, Kot-Kehloor, Gehrwin, and Ghumarwin.

The ruling party, Congress at that time managed to win one seat while rest of the seats were won by candidates from regional parties and independents. In 1956, bypolls were held on Ghumarwin assembly seat in Bilaspur and an independent candidate emerged victorious in the elections.

As Himachal was Part-C state and later became union territory, the state assembly was abolished and elections were not held in 1957 as the territorial council was formed that had nominated members.

The legislative assembly was reinstated in 1967 after which bypolls were mandated as sitting Chief Minister YS Parmar was not a member of the territorial council and he had to contest elections to enter the assembly.

Parmar contested elections from Sangrah seat that was vacated by Congress legislator Hitender Singh and he secured in the bypoll. The next bye-elections were in 1983 for Banikhet and Jubbal Kotkhai assembly seats in which the ruling Congress won one seat and lost Banikhet due to rebellion by the deceased MLA’s wife Bimla Mahajan.

The bypoll had led to Virbhadra Singh occupying Chief Minister’s post for the first time who entered Vidhan Sabha by winning from Jubbal Kotkhai and replaced Ram Lam Thakur.

In 1984, the bypoll on Pragpur assembly seat was won ruling Congress party while in 1995 bypolls on Sulah and Kinnaur constituencies, Congress won one seat while lost on other.

The ruling Congress party in 1996 won bypoll on Shimla and Nurpur assembly segments. Thereafter, bypolls were held on two seats Pragpur and Baijanth due to the death of sitting legislators in 1998 which were won by ruling BJP and two years later, the party won bypoll on Solan assembly seat.

However, the bypolls after that didn’t go in favour of Congress though it was in power. Congress lost bypoll in 2004 on Jawali seat, Sujanpur in 2014 and Bhoranj in 2017.

BJP, though, managed to win one seat in 2011 when bypolls were held on two seats of Renuka and Nalagarh where the ruling party lost Nalagarh seat.

The facts seem to back the ruling party in Himachal and give some confidence before the polling on 21 October but the poll battle in the state has become interesting as rebel candidates, especially from BJP are posing a formidable challenge.