BJP set to return to power in Uttarakhand

Dehradun, March 11:

The BJP was on Saturday set to storm back to power in the hill state of Uttarakhand with a two-thirds majority in the 70-member assembly, officials said.

On top of a sweeping win in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party had won 14 seats and was leading in 44 others, puncturing the ruling Congress.

The Congress suffered a rout, with Chief Minister Harish Rawat losing from both the seats he contested: Haridwar Rural and Kichcha.

Rawat lost to Yatiswaranand of the BJP by 12,278 votes in Haridwar Rural and to Rajesh Shukla in Kichha by a slender 2,154 votes.

The Congress said he was set to resign later on Saturday. He is expected to remain in office until the BJP picks a new Chief Minister.

The Congress had won only three seats and was leading in seven other places. In two constituencies, candidates of two other parties were in the lead.

As the election results began to pour in after the vote count began at 8 a.m., BJP activists and supporters celebrated at the party headquarters at Dehradun and all across the state.

Despondent Congress leaders admitted that they had not anticipated such a huge defeat although they were not confident of a victory either.

Prominent BJP winners or those on the victory lap included Ritu Khanduri, Kedar Singh, Satpal Maharaj, Bharat Singh, Madan Kaushik, Dhan Singh Rawat and Saurabh Bahuguna, son of former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna. (IANS)

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