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Rediff.com  » News » After poll loss, what makes Dhami confident of winning bypoll?

After poll loss, what makes Dhami confident of winning bypoll?

By Shishir Prashant
May 30, 2022 15:05 IST
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In the brief history of the hill state of Uttarakhand, there has not been a single instance where a chief minister has lost a by-election, reports Shishir Prashant.

IMAGE: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. Photograph: ANI Photo

Leading from the front, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami , 46, steered the Bharatiya Janata Party through choppy waters to a mammoth victory in the Uttarakhand assembly election this year.

For the first time in the hill state, the same party came to power for a second term.

Dhami, the youngest chief minister in the state, however, lost in Khatima, defeated by the Congress's Bhuwan Chandra Kapri by over 6,500 votes.

But the BJP high command kept faith in him and allowed him to continue as chief minister.

 

And remember, Dhami was a surprise choice of the party when he was made chief minister just seven months ahead of the election, that too after two chief ministers were removed in quick succession last year.

Ever since he took fresh oath as chief minister on March 23, Dhami has been a bit worried about finding a safe seat for contesting assembly election under the constitutional obligation that he has to be an MLA.

Though several MLAs offered to vacate their seats, the BJP leadership homed in on Champawat as the best bet for Dhami.

BJP MLA Kailash Gehtori, a close friend of Dhami, took no time to resign from there, paving the way for the by-election.

Gehtori, who has been put in charge of Dhami's election campaign, said he resigned because he wanted Dhami to complete a full five-year term.

Soon after filing his nomination papers from Champawat for the May 31 by-election, Dhami is looking more confident and relaxed.

There are reasons for this.

In the brief history of the hill state, there has not been a single instance where a chief minister has lost a by-election.

First it was in 2002, when N D Tiwari won the Ramnagar by-election hands down.

Thereafter, B C Khanduri, Vijay Bahuguna, and Harish Rawat also won their respective by-election comfortably.

This is why state BJP leaders have been saying that Dhami too will win the election by a huge margin.

Despite the tall claims, party sources said the state BJP leaders were leaving nothing to chance.

"Our chief minister will win from Champawat with a record margin," said Devendra Bhasin, vice-president of the state unit of the BJP.

Already, two-time former Congress MLA Hemesh Kharkwal has refused to contest from Champawat, following which his party has fielded Nirmala Gehtori, a former Congress district president, against Dhami.

The result will be declared on June 3.

In the run-up to the by-election, the Congress is mainly targeting Dhami on the rise in prices of petroleum products and unemployment.

When contacted, Gehtori slammed the BJP for imposing the by-election on the people of Champawat.

"We have asked the people to reject the BJP and teach its leaders a lesson," said Gehtori.

After becoming CM, Dhami fulfilled a big election promise of providing three LPG cylinders free to nearly 184,000 Antyodaya card holders.

This will cost the exchequer Rs 55 crore a year.

On yet another election promise of bringing in a uniform civil code in the state, Dhami has decided to form a committee of experts.

Though the government has not taken any further step on the formation of the committee, there are indications that it is not in a hurry on the issue.

This is also being seen as a strategy for the by-election.

Dhami has stated that Uttarakhand would become the first state after Goa to implement the uniform civil code.

Goa has been following the Portuguese Civil Code 1869, which is also called the Uniform Civil Code.

As part of improving his public image, Dhami made a surprise inspection of the regional transport office of Dehradun and suspended its head, Dinesh Chandra Pathoi, for allegedly not reaching office on time.

He has also been visiting various temples, including Char Dham shrines, and enquiring with priests and pilgrims about the arrangements and their requirements.

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Shishir Prashant in Dehradun
Source: source
 
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