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Ahead of by-election in Champawat district, the ruling BJP government in Uttarakhand has decided to give three domestic LPG cylinders for free to Antyodaya card-holders every year

However, the Congress party has opposed the decision claiming the move violated the Model Code of Conduct and will be raised by the party before the Election Commission.

State's chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami is contesting from Champawat, and the voting will be held on May 31.

The decision to provide free cooking gas cylinders was taken at a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by the chief minister.

Briefing the media after the cabinet meeting, Chief Secretary S S Sandhu said a total of 1,84,142 Antyodaya card-holders will benefit from the decision.

The BJP welcomed the cabinet's decision on free LPG cylinders, saying it was in accordance with the concept of a welfare State.

“It is a historic decision. The state government has kept its promise. It will empower the weaker sections. It will help them lead a better life," state BJP media incharge Manveer Singh Chauhan said.

However, Congress said the announcement has been made clear to influence voters and that it was a violation of the model code of conduct.

“We are going to the Election Commission to lodge a complaint. It is a clear violation of the model code of conduct. Why is the state government doing such a thing? Is it not sure about the chief minister's victory in Champawat?" senior Congress leader Suryakant Dhasmana said.

The cabinet also decided to continue giving a bonus of 20 per quintal to farmers on the purchase of wheat like in previous years.

Dhami is contesting the by-poll to become a member of the state assembly as he could not win from Khatima seat during regular polls held in February.

It is a constitutional requirement that any non-member becoming a chief minister of a state has to become a member within six of being sworn in as CM.

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