According to party officials, Gahtori submitted his resignation to Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Ritu Khanduri at her official residence. BJP state president Madan Kaushik, cabinet ministers Chandan Ram Das and Saurabh Bahuguna and MLA Khajan Das were present when Gahtori handed over his resignation. According to BJP media in-charge Manveer Chauhan, Khanduri has accepted the resignation.
आज देहरादून यमुना कॉलोनी स्थित शासकीय आवास पर चंपावत विधानसभा सीट से भाजपा विधायक श्री कैलाश चंद्र गहतोड़ी जी ने विधानसभा की सदस्यता से अपना त्यागपत्र सौंपा। pic.twitter.com/frfstrEADv
— Ritu Khanduri Bhushan (@RituKhanduriBJP) April 21, 2022
In the recent Assembly polls, the BJP won 47 out of the 70 seats. Congress won 19 seats while BSP and Independents bagged two seats each. While the BJP became the first ruling party to be voted back to power in Uttarakhand. Dhami however lost the election from the Khatima seat to Congress candidate Bhuwan Chandra Kapri. As the party picked him to be CM despite losing the polls, Dhami has to get elected to the Assembly within six months from the date he took over.
Talking to The Indian Express, Chauhan said that though the CM could have contested from any seat and every seat is a “safe seat” from him, a decision was made to contest from Champawat following demands by the locals there.
“For the Chief Minister, any seat is a safe seat. But he showed his interest more in Champawat and Gahtori was also the first MLA to offer to vacate his seat for the CM. Dhami also talked to people and BJP unit in the constituency and they all wanted the CM to contest from the seat. It was a desire of the locals,” he said.
Since the first Assembly elections in Uttarakhand in 2002, the Champawat seat has always been won by a candidate of the party with the highest number of seats. In the recent elections, Gehtori defeated Congress candidate Hemesh Kharkwal with a margin of over 5,300 votes to become a second-time MLA from the seat. In 2017, Kharkwal was defeated by Gehtori with a bigger margin of over 17,000 votes.
In the first three elections, the seat alternated between BJP and Congress. In the first Assembly election in 2002, Kharkwal won the seat by defeating Independent candidate Madan Singh by a narrow margin of 395 votes. In 2007, BJP’s Veena Maharana defeated Kharkwal by over 7,000 votes. In 2012, Congress candidate Kharkwal won back the seat defeating BSP candidate Madan Singh. BJP candidate Hema Joshi was a distant third in that election.
Falling in Kumaon region, from where Dhami belongs, Champawat is one of the constituencies other than Khatima where Dhami has social links. Being a neighboring district to his native Udham Singh Nagar district, Champawat appears to be a comfortable seat for Dhami, Still, according to party sources, the poll managers of the CM have already set camp in Champawat to start planning for the by-poll, a date for which is yet to be announced.