Dehradun, May 2 (PTI) The BJP on Sunday retained the Salt assembly constituency in Uttarakhand with Mahesh Jeena defeating Congress' Ganga Pancholi by 4,697 votes in a bypoll to the seat. Snatching an early lead over his nearest rival, Jeena maintained it consistently up to the end of counting, garnering 21,874 votes against Pancholi's 17,177, the Election Commission said quoting the returning officer of Almora. The BJP's win is significant as it was the first election contested after Tirath Singh Rawat took over in March as the chief minister of the state.
Bypoll to the seat, which fell vacant after the death of Surendra Singh Jeena due to COVID-19 late last year, was held on April 17.
Mahesh Jeena, the elder brother of Surendra Singh Jeena, was fielded by the BJP from the seat in the hope of making the most of sympathy votes. Congress chose to rely on Pancholi as she had given a tough fight to the BJP on the seat in the 2017 assembly polls. The strategy of fielding close kin of sitting MLAs in bypolls caused by their sudden demise has always worked for the BJP.
It worked when Prakash Pant's wife Chandra won her husband's Pithoragarh seat in 2019 and Magan Lal Shah's wife Munni Devi Shah won the Tharali seat in 2018. Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat and state BJP president Madan Kaushik congratulated Jeena on his victory. Wishing him a successful term as an MLA, they hoped he will accomplish the unfinished task of his younger brother. The chief minister said the Salt bypoll victory reflects people's growing confidence in the BJP and reiterated that all promises made to the people of the constituency will be fulfilled . Celebrating Jeena's win at the party office here state BJP president Kaushik said by voting the party to victory people have given a clear message that they are in favour of uninterrupted development of the state. PTI ALM ANB ANB
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