SHIMLA: Chief Minister and BJP leader Jai Ram Thakur is leading in the Seraj assembly constituency in Himachal Pradesh by a margin of 31,788 votes over Chet Ram of the Congress, according to the Election Commission.
Thakur, 57, is seeking to continue as chief minister and break the tradition of 'alternate governments' in the state.
Himachal Pradesh has not returned any incumbent government to power in the last nearly four decades.
The Seraj constituency falls under the Mandi parliamentary seat, which state Congress chief Pratibha Singh represents. She won it in a by-election.
Thakur has won five elections earlier in 1998, 2003, 2007, 2012 and 2017 from Seraj, which was earlier known as the Chachiot constituency. The constituency has been dominated by the BJP for the last 25 years.
In the 2017 assembly polls, Thakur had defeated Ram by a margin of over 11,000 votes.
Six contestants are in the fray for the seat which has around 75,000 electors.
The other four candidates are Mahender Singh (CPI-M), Gita Nand (AAP), Indra Devi (BSP) and Narender Kumar (Independent). Counting of votes for the 68-member assembly began at 8 am and the results of the elections will also reveal whether the BJP's all-out personalised campaign led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to buck the 'alternative government' trend has worked or not.