Congress intensifies campaign for Uttarakhand byelections amid BJP's stronghold

During the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress party suffered a setback when one of its legislators, Rajendra Bhandari, defected to the BJP by resigning from the Badrinath seat.
Flags of BJP and Congress parties used for representational purposes only.
Flags of BJP and Congress parties used for representational purposes only. (Photo | PTI)

DEHRADUN: The Congress has intensified its strategic approach in anticipation of a potentially favourable outcome in the upcoming byelections in Uttarakhand, scheduled for July 10. The byelections are being conducted for the vacant assembly seats of Badrinath and Mangalour.

Currently, in the 70-member state assembly, the BJP commands a significant majority with 47 members. During the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress party suffered a setback when one of its legislators, Rajendra Bhandari, defected to the BJP by resigning from the Badrinath seat. This move decreased the Congress's representation in the assembly from 19 to 18 members.

Bhandari, had earlier defeated BJP State President Mahendra Bhatt by a margin of over 2000 votes in the 2022 Assembly elections before switching sides to the saffron party. Bhatt is now a Rajya Sabha member.

Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress President Karan Mahra, who left for Gopeshwar soon after the bypoll schedule was announced, told TNIE, "Rajendra Bhandari's actions have severely disrespected the mandate, prompting the local population to decisively give him a befitting lesson".

Following the Congress's improved performance in terms of vote share during the Lok Sabha elections, the challenge facing the ruling BJP in the Badrinath seat has escalated significantly. Congress President Karan Mahara asserts that Bhandari's actions have eroded the local electorate's trust in him.

However, the BJP had managed to secure a higher vote share in the Badrinath assembly constituency during the Lok Sabha elections with 31,845 votes, while the Congress received 23,600 votes, trailing by more than 8,000 votes. But what came as relief for Congress is that it maintained a lead in terms of votes in the village and neighbouring booths of former MLA Rajendra Bhandari.

Speaking to this daily, BJP State President Mahendra Bhatt said, "Our party is poised to maintain its winning momentum in the state. We anticipate a rise in the BJP's representation in the House from 47 to 49 members."

"The party has promptly designated assembly in-charges for the two recently vacated seats," he added.

In addition to Badrinath, Congress is also keen on the Mangalour seat. In this assembly segment of the Haridwar parliamentary seat, the party had managed to gain more votes than the BSP and BJP during the Lok Sabha elections. Congress secured 44,101 votes in the Mangalour assembly constituency while BJP trailed with 21,100 votes. However BJP's Trivendra Singh Rawat secured a victory in the Haridwar LS seat defeating Congress candidate Virendra Rawat by a margin of 1,64,056 votes.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com