DEHRA DUN: The Bharatiya Janata Party emerged the single largest party in the Uttarakhand Assembly elections, the results of which were declared on Tuesday, by bagging 34 seats one short of the magic number for a clear majority. Polling was held for 69 out of 70 seats as the election for the Bageshwar seat was adjourned after the Congress nominee died in an accident.
The ruling Congress was humbled as it got only 21 seats, with Ministers Indira Hirdeyesh, Narender Singh Bhandari and Nav Prabhat, all confidants of Chief Minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari, losing out in the race.
The Bahujan Samaj Party won eight seats by increasing its earlier figure by one. The Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, which had four MLAs last time, was reduced to three seats with its top leader, Kashi Singh Airi, losing the election after 18 years in the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand Assemblies.
It was jubilation all the way for the BJP with hundreds of cadres distributing sweets or applying `gulal' (colour) to mark the party's victory. The party needs the support of one MLA to be in a position to form a Government and senior leaders are said to be in touch with the UKD and two independents.
Although the former Union Minister, Major General (retd.) Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri, seems to be the frontrunner for the Chief Minister's job, the former Chief Minister and State BJP president, Bhagat Singh Koshiary, enjoying much clout in the RSS, has thrown in the hat by refusing to accept anything short of the top job.
High profile electioneering
The verdict seems to have been influenced by the high profile and intensive electioneering by the BJP which made inflation, corruption and unemployment as its main plank. The Congress prospects were damaged by a large number of rebels in the fray on tickets from parties that had no base in Uttarakhand.