By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 18 Apr: It may be recalled that as a CM who was brought in just around 6 months before the assembly polls in Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami managed to turn the tide in favour of the ruling party, BJP, and ensure that it retains power. In the process, however, he lost his own personal election from Khatima. Despite this, when the BJP High Command thought it prudent to retain him as CM, around ten MLAs including some from Congress and one independent offered to resign from their respective constituencies to enable him to contest the bypoll, so that he can continue to remain in office beyond six months. After much thought, Dhami and the party have decided that he will contest the bypoll from Champawat.
It is pertinent to remind that BJP MLA Kailash Gehtodi was the first MLA to offer his resignation so that Dhami may contest the bypoll. It was among the first places Dhami visited upon taking over as CM and spent some time there. Meanwhile, several others from the BJP including Rudraprayag’s Bharat Singh Chaudhary offered to resign, too. When Dhami spoke of his old link with the Dehradun Cantt assembly constituency from where Savita Kapoor, the widow of 8 time MLA, the late Harbans Kapoor, is the current MLA, it was being speculated that he was considering contesting from this seat. This seat has been won continuously by the BJP ever since the formation of Uttarakhand and was therefore considered the safest seat for him. For the past ten days, rebel Congress MLA Harish Dhami too has been offering to resign from Dharchula.
Even though Dhami had been publicly saying that the Party High Command would decide from where he would contest the bypoll, it now appears that he had already set his eyes on Champawat and was waiting for the green signal from the party. On Sunday, while in Delhi, he got the green signal to contest from Champawat according to party sources.
Although, Dhami’s traditional political karmabhumi has been Khatima, he hails from district Pithoragarh and Champawat is not far from there. The current MLA, Kailash Gehtodi, is considered to be a hardworking MLA who has worked out a good rapport with the people and, therefore, it is being considered a safe seat for Dhami. Secondly, as sitting CM, if Dhami gets to represent Champawat, it will be considered a boon for the constituency. Champawat has not been represented even in the cabinet, so far. It was only in 2002 and in 2012 that Hemesh Kharkwal of Congress had won this constituency. In 2007, it was Veena Mahrana of BJP who won this seat. But, so far, no one from Champawat has been able to become a minister in the state government. Now that the seat would be represented by a sitting CM. This would be considered an unexpected blessing for the people of Champawat.
Sources in the party today claimed that Gehtodi will resign from his seat this week, itself, when he comes to Dehradun. In Champawat, he said that the decision to resign had been taken in greater public interest as the seat would now be represented by the CM. He also claimed that he would have no regrets on resigning in order to enable CM Dhami to contest from Champawat.
Why Champawat is safe bet for Dhami to contest bypoll
By Arun Pratap Singh