Dehra Dun, Jun 15 - For Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who seeks an entry into the state Assembly, the upcoming Sitarganj bypoll appears to be a cakewalk as Opposition BJP struggling to find a formidable leader against him.
The Samajwadi Party has already announced that it would not field a candidate against the chief minister, and the BSP, being an ally of the ruling Congress, is also likely to do the same.
"We are not putting up any candidate against Bahuguna," state SP president Vinod Barthwal said, adding: "It may be a repetition of Kannauj, from where SP candidate Dimple Yadav was elected unopposed for the Parliament."
BJP is finding it tough to nominate any strong candidate against Bahuguna for the July 8 election, that was necessitated following resignation of BJP MLA Kiran Mandal, party sources admitted.
Although party will finalise its candidate tomorrow, sources say top party leaders like B C Khanduri and Bhagat Singh Koshiyari are not keen to contest against Bahuguna, leaving the party with no option but to field a local candidate.
A top party leader said BJP may field a "local Bengali candidate" or from all those former cabinet ministers "who could not win" in the recent elections.
Party sources, however, admit that with this, it will be virtually a "cakewalk" for Bahuguna to enter the Vidhan Sabha if BJP puts up some local candidate against him.
This, however, is not the first time as in 2002, the then Chief Minister N D Tiwari had won Ramnagar Assembly bypoll defeating Ram Singh Bisht of BJP by an impressive margin of 23,220 votes.
Again in 2007, the then Chief Minister B C Khanduri defeated Surendra Singh Negi of the Congress by a huge margin of more than 14,000 votes in Dhumakot by-election. PTI