Uttarakhand Election Myths Hold True This Time Also

Dehra Dun : The BJP has come out with flying colours in the recently concluded assembly elections in Uttarakhand having won 57 of the 70 segments. In fact the party has done even much better than what its rank and file was looking forward to, as even its die hard loyalists were of the view that the party would win in about 45 places.
Incidentally few are aware that there are few myths that are attached to the Vidhan Sabha elections in this tiny hill state. The foremost amongst them is that the party whose candidate wins from the Gangotri (source of the Ganga) assembly segment forms the government in the state. It has come out true this time also as the winner from the assembly segment this time is Gopal Singh Rawat of the BJP and the party has got an absolute majority in the state and will be forming the government.
Rawat, got the better of Vijaypal Singh Sajwan of the Congress, having polled 25683 votes as compared to 16073 by the latter, winning by a margin of 9610 votes.
Another popular myth is that the person who has held the education portfolio in the state government has not been re-elected in the next assembly elections. Mantri Prasad Nainthani is the minister holding the education portfolio in the outgoing Harish Rawat government. He had told newspersons just prior to the elections that he would break the myth this time and win from the Devprayag assembly segment from where he was contesting, but he lost to Vinod Kandari of the BJP.
In fact, Mantri Prasad Naithani contesting on the Congress ticket finished third polling 8742 votes as compared to 13824 by Vinod Kandari who was declared elected. Diwakar Bhatt who contested as an independent came second by polling 10325 votes.
It may be recalled that in the first BJP government in the newly carved Uttarakhand in 2000, Tirath Singh Rawat was made the education minister. However, when elections were held in 2002, he could not make it to the Vidhan Sabha. Than year Narandra Singh Bhandari was made the education minister in the Narain Dutt Tewari government but in the 2007 elections he lost.
In the 2007 elections the BJP came to power in the state and Govind Singh Bhist and later Khazan Dass were made the education ministers and both lost in the 2012 elections in which the Congress came to power in the state and Mantri Prasad Naithani was given the education portfolio.
Incidentally, call it a jinx or a myth, but a chief minister is either not re-elected to the assembly or he loses the next election if he contests or is not made the chief minister the second time. The first chief minister of the state Nitya Nand Swami contesting the elections in 2002 from the Laxman  Chowk assembly segment on the BJP ticket lost to Dinesh Aggarwal of the Congress.
Then Bharat Singh Koshiyari who became the chief minister managed to win the next assembly elections that he contested but was not made the chief minister. Likewise Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ becaome the chief minister and though he too won the assembly elections the next time he contested but was deprive from the chief minister’s post.
Then it was Maj Gen (retd) B C Khanduri who became the chief minister but in the very next elections, despite the fact that he was at the very forefront with the BJP having coined the statement ‘Khanduri hai jaroori’, he lost from the Kotdwara assembly segment.
The jinx has now got the better of chief minister Harish Rawat who contested from two assembly segments – Haridwar rural and Kicha in the hope that he would win from at least one. But he has lost from both the assembly segments.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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