In a sharp recovery from his personal defeat during the Uttarakhand election, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami today won the by-election critical for him to retain his job. This was a crunch situation for Pushkar Singh Dhami after the BJP, following its victory in Uttarakhand, reposed the organisation’s faith in him to continue as chief minister.
Pushkar Singh Dhami had lost in Khatima in the assembly election in February. The chief minister had campaigned aggressively in Champawat.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led his party’s workers in congratulating Pushkar Singh Dhami on the record win. He thanked the voters for their faith in the BJP too.
Three by-polls were held on 31 May: Champawat in Uttarakhand, Brajarajnagar in Odisha and Thrikkakara in Kerala. Pushkar Singh Dhami had to contest from Champawat to become a member of the Uttarakhand assembly, which was a constitutional requirement he needed to fulfil within six months of being sworn in as the chief minister. He had lost from Khatima in the state assembly polls held in February.
Pushkar Singh Dhami took an early lead in Champawat and widened the gap to 55,025 votes or 92.94% of the vote count. Former BJP MLA Kailash Gehtori had resigned from the seat to make way for the chief minister to make a fresh bid for the state assembly.
The BJP had campaigned aggressively for Pushkar Singh Dhami, pulling in top leaders, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Pushkar Singh Dhami was locked in a straight contest with Indian National Congress’s Nirmala Gehtori in the seat located in the Kumaon region. The other two in the fray were Samajwadi Party’s Manoj Kumar Bhatt and independent candidate Himanshu Gadkoti.
In Kerala, the INC is leading in the Thrikkakara assembly constituency, as per the Election Commission. The party has fielded Uma Thomas against CPI(M)’s Jo Joseph, a cardiologist. The BJP fielded its veteran leader AN Radhakrishnan from the constituency.
The by-election in Odisha is taking place in the Brajrajnagar assembly segment in Odisha’s Jharsuguda district. Although 11 candidates were in the fray, the constituency predominantly witnessed a triangular fight among BJD, BJP and Congress nominees.
The BJD fielded the deceased MLA’s wife, Alaka Mohanty, as its candidate, while the BJP nominated former legislator Radharani Panda. Former assembly speaker Kishore Patel contested the by-election on an INC ticket.