Updated: Tue, 31 May 2022 09:40 AM IST
Dehradun | Jagran Politics Desk: The polling for crucial by-elections in the Champawat legislative assembly in Uttarakhand began on Tuesday. The by-elections were necessitated after Champawat MLA and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kailash Gehtori resigned from his position to allow Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami get elected to the 70-member state legislative assembly.
While the BJP had retained power in Uttarakhand for a second consecutive term, Dhami had lost his seat of Khatima - a constituency he had won twice since 2012 - to Congress leader Bhuvan Chandra Kapri by nearly 6,900 votes.
Despite his lost to Kapri, Dhami was made the Chief Minister of the state after which Gehtori resigned from his position last month to help the BJP leader get elected to the state assembly. Dhami is now locked in a direct contest with Congress' Nirmala Gehtori in Champawat.
Meanwhile, other candidates who are in the fray are Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Manoj Kumar Bhatt and Independent Himanshu Gadkoti. A total of 96,213 voters will cast their votes in the by-elections.
Political analysts believe that Dhami was unable to focus on his own constituency in Khatima which led to his defeat in Uttarakhand polls. However, the BJP is confident that the Chief Minister will emerge victorious from Champawat this time.
It should be noted that no Chief Minister in Uttarakhand have never lost a by-election in the state. In 2002, ND Tiwari had won by-elections from Ramnagar. Then, Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri won it from Dhumakot in 2007, Vijay Bahuguna from Sitarganj in 2012, and Harish Rawat from Dharchula in 2014.
"The Chief Minister is sure to win by a historic margin. The Congress is nowhere in contest. It is going to be a one-sided affair. People are going to vote for development and the young and dynamic leadership of Dhami," Pradesh BJP vice president Devendra Bhasin was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.