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Uttarakhand: Cong edges out BJP in a photo finish
Soon after his loss, Chief Minister BC Khanduri said, "I am not in the race for CM."
Dehradun: Uttarakhand proved to be a cliff-hanger of a contest with the Congress emerging as the single largest party winning 32 seats, securing a wafer-thin lead over ruling BJP's 31 in the 70-member Assembly. As the counting progressed during the day, the state witnessed a see-saw battle in which the leads shifted continuously. BSP won three seats and three independents emerged successful, thus positioning themselves as possible kingmakers. Uttarakhand Kranti Dal-Panwar (UKD-P) won one seat.
One of the highlights of the election in the state was, obviously, Chief Minister BC Khanduri's defeat from Kotdwar. Soon after after his loss, Khanduri said, "I am not in the race for CM." BJP's efforts to neutralise anti-incumbency in Uttarakhand by reinstalling Khanduri as the chief minister six months ahead of state elections did not pay off. Khanduri, who led the "Khanduri hain zaroori (Khanduri's win is a must)" campaign of the BJP, lost to SS Negi of the Congress from Kotdwar seat by a margin of 4,632.
Former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (BJP) won Doiwala seat, defeating Congress' Hira Singh Bist by 1,272 votes. Congress leader Indira Haridayesh wrested Haldwani seat from BJP by defeating its candidate Renu Adhikari. State BJP president Bishan Singh Chufal won from Didihaat constituency. PCC chief Yashpal Arya won from Baajpur seat and leader of the opposition Harak Singh Rawat led in Rudraprayag seat.
Both the Congress and the BJP expressed confidence they would form the new government. Reports said that Congress leaders have reached Governor house to stake claim to form the government in Uttarakhand. Congress leader and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat said his party will form the government in the hill state. "The Congress will form the government in Uttarakhand, that I am confident," said Rawat.
Earlier, the BJP opened its account from Sitarganj seat in Kumaon region when the first result went in its favour after its candidate Kiran Chand Mandal bagged the seat. Congress leader Indira Hridayesh won from Haldwani seat. Prem Singh Rana of BJP won from Nanakmatta seat in Kumaon region defeating GS Rana of Congress by over 5,600 votes.
Sanjay Gupta of BJP won from Laksar seat defeating Haji Taslim of BSP by 10,400 votes. Haridass of BSP won from Jharbera seat defeating Rajpal of Congress by 3,817 votes.
Yastishwaranand of BJP won from Haridwar Rural defeating Irshad of Congress by 6,000 votes. Puran Singh Rawat of BJP won from Lohaghat seat defeating Mahendra Singh Mahra of Congress by 11,535 votes. Surendra Singh Jeena of BJP defeated sitting Congress candidate Ranjit Singh from Salt seat in Kumaon region.
Arvind Pandey of BJP retained Gadarpur seat defeating Genrail Singh Kali, an independent by 5,835 votes. Adesh Chauhan of BJP won from Ranipur seat defeating Ambrish Kumar, an independent candidate by 3500 votes. Harbhajan Singh Cheema of BJP defeated Manoj Joshi of Congress to retain kashipur seat by a margin of 2382 votes.
Manoj Tiwari of Congress won from Almora seat defeating Raghunath Singh Chauhan of BJP by over 1,000 votes. Ajay Bhatt of BJP defeated Karan Mehra of Congress from Ranikhet seat by 88 votes.
Tourism Minister Madan Kaushik of BJP defeated Satpal Bhramchari of Congress from Haridwar seat by 8,603 votes. Sarwar Singh Ansari of BSP defeated Kazi Nizamuddin of Congress by 713 votes from Mangalore seat. Uttarakhand Congress chief Yashpal Arya won from Baajpur seat defeating Rajkumar of BJP by 15,075 votes. BJP state president Bishan Singh Chufal won from Didihaat seat defeating Rewati Joshi of Congress by 10,617 votes.
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