BJP holds on to Pithoragarh seat, defeats Congress
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Chandra Pant, widow of former MLA and state finance minister Prakash Pant, won the Pithoragarh by-election to the Uttarakhand assembly on Thursday, defeating her nearest rival, Congress candidate Anju Lunthi, by a margin of 3,267 votes.
Of the 50,584 votes cast in the November 25 bypoll, Chandra Pant received 26,086 votes and Lunthi 22,819 votes, said VK Jogdande, district election officer and district magistrate of Pithoragarh. Samajwadi Party candidate Manoj Kumar Bhatt polled 835 votes.
The bypoll for the Pithoragarh assembly seat was announced by the Election Commission in October after the death of Prakash Pant in June. BJP won the seat in 2017 by a margin of 2,684 votes.
Chandra Pant said her victory was the result of development projects undertaken by her late husband in the constituency and the efforts of BJP workers who campaigned for her. “I will try my best to fulfil the expectations of the voters who have shown their faith in me and showered so much affection,” said Pant.
Congress fielded Lunthi after senior leader and former legislator Mayukh Mehar refused to contest, citing health issues.
MM Semwal, a political analyst and professor of political science at Garhwal University, said, “The results show BJP should not only bank on [PM] Narendra Modi’s charisma for votes, they should also focus on local issues.”