Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Friday won the by-poll to the Champawat assembly seat defeating Congress’ Nirmala Gahtori by a record margin of over 55,000 votes to retain his office. Bypoll to the Champawat assembly seat was held on May 31, with over 64 per cent of the electorate casting their votes.
Dhami garnered 58,258 votes against Gahtori’s 3,233 votes, winning by a record margin of 55,025 votes, election officials in Champawat said. Gahtori lost her deposit, they said.
Though chief ministers of Uttarakhand who contested by-polls never lost , this is the highest margin with which a CM has won a bypoll in the hill state. Dhami has rewritten the record of Vijay Bahuguna who had won a bypoll from Sitarganj on a Congress ticket in 2012 by 40,000 votes.
Celebrations began at the BJP state office as Dhami appeared headed for a one-sided victory, taking a substantial lead in the very first rounds of counting of votes. “It is a national record. Our chief minister has garnered 93 per cent of the votes cast, " Pradesh BJP spokesperson Shadab Shams said.
Dhami had to contest the bypoll to become a member of the Assembly, a constitutional requirement he needed to fulfil to remain chief minister after losing from Khatima in the state polls held in February. Dhami had lost to Bhuvan Chandra Kapri of the Congress in Khatima, a seat he had won in 2012 and 2017 assembly polls.
Soon after Dhami was sworn-in as chief minister for a second consecutive term, the then Champawat MLA Kailash Chandra Gehtori had offered to vacate his seat to make way for him to contest from there. Gehtori resigned from the seat on April 21 paving the way for Dhami to contest from there. Gehtori also accompanied him on all his campaign tours and roadshows in the run-up to the by-election.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia were among the first to congratulate Dhami on his victory.
After Dhami’s win, Modi tweeted, “Congratulations to Uttarakhand’s dynamic CM Pushkar Singh Dhami for the record win from Champawat."
“I am confident he will work even harder for the progress of Uttarakhand. I thank the people of Champawat for placing their faith in BJP and laud our Karyakartas for their hardwork," the prime minister said.
Congratulating Dhami on his “historic victory", Adityanath in a tweet said, “This victory is dedicated to the prime minister’s policies meant for the welfare of people, your development oriented leadership and the hard work of party workers."
In a tweet, Scindia wished that the victory journey of Uttarakhand under Dhami’s leadership and the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues relentlessly.
“The victory is a stamp of approval on the development work being done by you under the guidance of Prime minister Narendra Modi," Madhya Pradesh CM Chouhan said.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma congratulated Dhami for getting a “massive mandate" in Champawat. “This victory is dedicated to people’s abiding trust in the principles and politics of BJP guided the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said.
With inputs from agencies