The Congress which fought the election under the leadership of Virbhadra Singh won 19 seats and was leading in two seats.
Despite the BJP's spectacular performance, its chief ministerial face Prem Kumar Dhumal lost from Sujanpur Assembly seat to his Congress rival Rajinder Singh Rana by about 3,500 votes.
Main rivals BJP and Congress contested all the 68 seats at stake.
The hill state had witnessed a record 75.28 per cent turnout.
The Congress and the BJP had 36 and 26 seats respectively in the outgoing House.
Voters in Himachal Pradesh have traditionally brought the Congress and the BJP in power alternately.
The BJP ousted the Congress in 1990 and the Congress avenged defeat in 1993. The BJP formed the government with the help of Himachal Vikas Congress in 1998 and the Congress was back in power in 2003. The BJP made a comeback in 2007 but lost in 2012.