Uttarakhand: CM in fray, but rain pours cold water on by-polls

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
  • Updated: Jul 21, 2014 11:15 IST

Polling for the three assembly seats in Uttarakhand started on Monday morning amid rains. The inclement weather has apparently forced voters to remain in homes. The Dharchula, Someswar and Doiwala seats recorded nearly 10% voting till the filing of this report.

There is a straight fight between the ruling Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in all three assembly segments. Chief minister Harish Rawat is contesting from Dharchula in Pithoragarh district, which was vacated by a Congress MLA. Rawat is contesting against BJP's BD Joshi.

It is mandatory for CM Rawat to get elected in state assembly by the month end. Although due to cervical injury, the CM neither went to file nomination papers at Dharchula nor addressed public meetings during campaigning.

BJP's national secretary and former minister Trivender Singh Rawat is contesting from Doiwala in Dehradun district. The Congress has pitted former minister Heera Singh Bisht against the BJP candidate.

In Someswar, Congress' Rekha Arya is contesting against BJP's Mohan Arya. Doiwala and Someswar were vacated after the respective MLA's Ajay Tamta and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishak were elected as members of Parliament.

According to chief election officer Radha Raturi, the administration has made adequate security arrangements in three assembly segments. The international border with Nepal has been sealed in Pithoragarh district. The counting of votes will take place on July 25.

At present, the Congress has 32 members in the state assembly while the BJP has 28. The Uttarakhand assembly has a total strength of 70 members. A party needs 36 members to remain in power. Three independents, three BSP MLAs (including two suspended members) and one UKD member are supporting the Congress government in the state.

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