Ruling Congress party is set to win all the three assembly seats, including Dharchula from where Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat was a candidate, in the by-elections.
The results of the by-elections came as major setback for the BJP which failed to retain the Doiwala and Someshwar seats which were vacated by former CM Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” and Ajay Tamta following their victory in the Lok Sabha elections.
Rawat’s loyalist Harish Dhami had vacated Dharchula seat for CM’s entry into the state assembly. The by-election results have come after three months of the LS elections in which BJP won all five seats in the state.
Another political significance of the by-election result is that it has strengthened the position of the Congress-headed Uttarakhand government in the state assembly. Besides, it would help CM Harish Rawat silence his critics within the state Congress.
Rawat currently runs his government with the support of seven MLAs, including three BSP, three independents and one UKD. Following the by-election results, Congress has now 35 members in the 70-member state assembly. Rawat, who is recuperating from his neck injury which he had suffered following emergency landing of the helicopter recently, took oath as CM on February 1.
Although results of the by-elections are still to be officially declared, reports confirmed CM Rawat has defeated BJP candidate B D Joshi by an impressive margin of about 20,000 votes in Dharchula seat.
“There are about 4000 postal votes which are to be counted. Now, there is no doubt over Rawat’s victory,” a source in the office of state’s Chief Electoral Officer told the IE on phone.
Interestingly, there were only two candidates- CM Rawat and Joshi- in the fray from Dharchula seat. BJP candidate Joshi has bagged about 10,000 votes. Dharchula seat, which is located in the upper Himalayas near Indo-China border, is a part of Almora LS seat which Rawat had represented thrice before the delimitation.
The bad news for the BJP is that it has failed to retain Doiwala seat which former CM Ramesh Pokhriyal represented before his victory from Hardwar LS seat in the 2014. Congress candidate Hira Singh Bisht has defeated the BJP candidate Trivendra Singh Rawat, who is national secretary of the BJP, by a margin of more than 3000 votes. Incidentally, Trivendra is also co-incharge of the UP BJP where his party had put up unmatched show in the LS elections. Moreover, BJP MP Nishank had maintained a lead of more than 18000 votes in the same Doiwala assembly seat in the last LS elections.
In Someshwar (SC), Congress candidate Rekha Arya defeated BJP candidate Mohan Lal Arya by an impressive margin of votes. Rekha joined the Congress just a few days before the beginning of process for the by-elections. This seat was won by Pradeep Tamta, who is now MP from Almora seat, in the 2012 assembly elections.