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Congress holds edge in split Uttarakhand verdict

Tuesday March 06, 2012 10:49:50 PM, Agencies

Uttarakhand: Final Results






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Dehradun: The Congress Tuesday emerged as the single largest party in Uttarakhand with 32 members, ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by a notch in the 70-member Uttarakhand assembly.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which was routed in the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, holds the key to the government formation in the hill state where it bagged three seats.

The BJP got 31 while others, including independents, together got four seats whose support along with the BSP will decide who will lead the next government in the state.

The Congress, which failed to grab power in Punjab, was humiliated in Uttar Pradesh and ousted in Goa, bettered its performance in Uttarakhand from its 2007 tally of 21.

The BJP was three down from its 34 members in the outgoing assembly while the BSP was a clear loser, given its seven seats in 2007.

BJP's Arun Jaitley said the BSP's vote share going down has benefited the Congress, as he dismissed any anti-incumbency factor played against his party.

The major setback for the ruling BJP was the loss of Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri, who had led the poll campaign with a slogan of "Khanduri hain zaroori".

He was defeated by Congress' S.S. Negi in Kotdwar constituency by over 4,500 votes.

A retired army officer, Khanduri was re-appointed chief minister of Uttarakhand last September following corruption charges against his predecessor Ramesh Pokhriyal.

The BJP had Khanduri back at a time when the party was preparing for the assembly polls hoping to tame the anti-corruption tide in the state. But the plan failed to deliver the desired result.

Pokhriyal, a known Khanduri bete noire, however, won from the Doiwala constituency defeating Congress' Heera Singh Bisht by 1,272 votes.

BJP state president Bishan Singh Chufal won from Didihaat defeating his closest rival Rewati Joshi of the Congress by over 10,600 votes

Uttarakhand Congress chief Yashpal Arya also won from Baajpur seat defeating Rajkumar of the BJP by 15,075 votes.

All eyes would be now on the BSP, other smaller parties and independents for the next government.

Both the Congress and the BJP expressed confidence they would form the new government.

"Certainly, ambition of any party who fights election is to form the government... We have an edge," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

Asked if the Congress would stake claim to form the government, Singhvi said: "Absolutely... I see no reason (not to stake the claim)."

The Congress leader said "there are some undecided people", indicating that his party would be talking to smaller parties to seek their support.

Ravi Shankar Prasad of the BJP said his party would also try to form the government in the state but feared that "the Congress may misuse the institution of governor".













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Picture of the Day

Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Kumar Bansal inspecting the damaged gate number 16 at the Farakka Barrage, Murshidabad district, West Bengal on March 03, 2012. State Minister of Irrigation & Waterways, Micro & Small Scale Enterprises & Textiles, Government of West Bengal Dr. Manas Ranjan Bhunia and State Minister of Development & Planning and Power, Government of West Bengal Manish Gupta are also seen.



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