After the setback in the Lok Sabha election, the ruling Congress on Friday recorded a big win in the bypoll to three assembly seats in Uttarakhand retaining Dharchula seat which went to Chief Minister Harish Rawat and wresting Doiwala and Someshwar seats from Bharatiya Janata Party.
While Rawat won Dharchula seat by over 20,000 votes, Congress’s Hira Singh Bisht won from Doiwala by over 6,000 votes whereas Congress’s Rekha Arya won Someshwar (reserved) seat by over 9,000 votes.
Doiwala and Someshwar seats fell vacant after their sitting MLAs Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank and Ajay Tamta respectively were elected to the Lok Sabha.
Congress’s bypoll victory in Uttarakhand is a shot in the arm for the party which had lost all five seats to BJP in the Lok Sabha polls.
Rawat got 31,214 votes against his nearest rival BJP’s BD Joshi who garnered 10,610 in Dharchula. In Doiwala, Hira Singh Bisht of the Congress polled 35,980 votes against BJP’s Trivendra Singh Rawat who got 29,465 votes. Congress’s Rekha Arya bagged 22,996 votes in Someshwar against BJP’s Mohan Ram Arya who got 13,091 votes, she said.
Bypoll to these seats was held on July 21 after Dharchula was vacated by Congress MLA Harish Dhami for the chief minister to help him fulfil the constitutional requirement of entering the state assembly as an MLA.
Further consolidating the party’s position in the state assembly, victory in these seats helps the Congress reach the half-way mark on its own in the 70-member House by raising the number of party MLAs from 32 to 35.
Elated at its bypoll performance which comes after the Lok Sabha poll rout at the hands of BJP which was riding high on a Modi wave, Congress leaders here said it was an indication that the “so-called Modi wave is on the ebb”.
“Uttarakhand bypoll results, which have been overwhelmingly in favour of the Congress, show that the Modi magic has begun to fade,” Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Dhirendra Pratap claimed.
Soon after the party’s triumph, Rawat who had sought votes on the plank of stability, thanked the people of the state and promised to meet their expectations.
“Our victory on the three seats is the people’s blessing to the party and has increased our responsibility manifold. We shall have to work harder now to honour the faith reposed by people in us,” he said.
Attributing the party victory to all his cabinet colleagues, party workers and supporters, Rawat said the bypoll outcome also carries a message that people now want to restrengthen the Congress. “We welcome their mandate in all humility and promise to focus on how to take the fruits of development to the last man on the street,” he said.
Another significant victory was recorded by Congress in the high-profile Doiwala seat which traditionally belonged to BJP and was held by former chief minister Nishank. Congress has now penetrated a BJP citadel winning the seat for the first time in 20 years.