BJP leading in Gujarat, Himachal

Ahmedabad/Shimla: The ruling BJP was leading in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh over Congress in the assembly elections for which the counting of votes began today.

TV channels put BJP well ahead of the Congress in both the states. One channel placed the BJP ahead in 57 constituencies against Congress' 34 while another gave the figure of 56 and 28 respectively. Yet others projected BJP as being ahead in 46 and Congress 23 and 48 and 23 respectively.

The Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) headed by former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel was not doing well leading in only three seats.

The Gujarat Assembly has 182 seats. The BJP has 117 in the outgoing assembly against Congress' 53.

In Himachal Pradesh, three TV channels showed BJP ahead in 12 constituencies and Congress in six. One of the channels showed BJP ahead in 14 and Congress six.

Himachal has a 68-member Assembly in which BJP had won 43 seats in the 2003 elections against Congress' 16.