Ahead of the Tharali Assembly bypoll in Uttarakhand, the BJP has managed to pacify two party rebels who had declared that they would fight as Independents after being denied party tickets.

The Tharali seat fell vacant after sitting legislator Magan Lal Shah died of swine flu in February this year. To cash in on the sympathy factor, the BJP has fielded Magan Lal Shah’s widow Munni Devi.

This annoyed Guddu Lal and Balbeer and they announced that they would contest as Independents. However, the BJP managed to pacify them and they agreed to campaign for the BJP candidate. Munni Devi filed her nomination at Tharali in Chamoli district on Thursday.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, BJP’s national vice president Shyam Jaju and other BJP leaders were present. The election will test the strength of BJP and provide Congress a change to gain some lost ground.

Congress has opted for Dr Jeet Ram from the Tharali seat. In the 2017, state assembly election BJP’s Magan Lal Shah had registered a convincing victory over Jeet Ram. Magan got 25,810 votes and Jeet Ram 20,889 votes. The Tharali by-election is all set to witness a close fight between BJP and Congress.

Principal Secretary, Department of General Administration, Radha Raturi has said in the wake of the assembly byelection in Tharali constituency, a public holiday has been announced on 28 May, polling day.

She said that all industrial units, government & non-government offices, commercial establishments, semi-government institutions, educational institutions would remain closed on May 28 so that everyone, including workers coming under the Factories Act, labourers and those working in shops can exercise their right to franchise. On this day, all the treasury and sub-treasury offices falling under the assembly constituency would remain closed.