Winter election campaign to be a tough task in Uttarakhand

Dehradun : With neither of the two major political parties in Uttarakhand, the BJP or Congress, having declared the list of candidates for the ensuing vidhan sabha elections in this mountain state scheduled for Jan 30, it is going to be a yeoman task for the candidates to reach out to voters, given the difficult topography and terrain in the higher reaches.

To make matters worse, most of the potential candidates, including those who are sitting MLAs, are camping in Delhi and doing rounds of their political bosses and party high command in a bid to ensure that they get the party ticket, regardless of whether it is the BJP or the Congress.

The reason being that delimitation of the constituencies has defined new borders creating new candidates in the fray.

Apparently both the Congress and the BJP high commands have adopted a wait and watch attitude.

While the BJP wants to know the Congress candidates contesting from the 70 assembly segments in the state, likewise the Congress want to know the BJP list.

The reason for this is that the party can opt for a candidate from a different caste or put a woman in the fray hoping to outdo its political opponent.

But in this wait and watch game, the party candidates stand to suffer as they will have hardly adequate time to reach the voters in their respective constituencies.

True that there are only 36 assembly segments in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand as compared to the 36 vidhan sabha constituencies in the plains, but even those in the plains feel that the 25 to 20 days that they may get for campaigning may not be enough.

The state goes to the polls on Jan 30, while the last date for filing nominations is Jan 10 and after scrutiny the last date for withdrawal is Jan 15.

Taking into consideration the fact that campaigning comes to an end before 48 hours, means that the candidates will have just about 13 days.

The reason for this is being attributed to the fact that rebel and dummy candidates will also file their nominations and the real picture of the candidates will emerge only on Jan 15.

In the higher reaches of the state, no candidate will be able to reach the entire assembly segment in the about 15 days of campaigning because of the difficult topography and the fact that canvassing will have to be done mainly on foot because of lack of road network in the interiors.

As such only those candidates who have worked in the region over the past years will have an edge.

The minor political players in the mountain state, like the two factions of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD), Raksha Morcha, BSP and SP, may have taken the lead as they have already announced their candidates, but they really do not cut much ice with the voters except in some pockets, but stand to gain for the extra time that they have got for campaigning extensively.

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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3 Comments

  1. says: Lt Gen Dr Mohan Bhandari

    Dismal leadership all through-lacking in vision & perspective, gave birth to the Delimitation Monster.This coupled with continuing migration is responsible for the state of affairs today when the party candidates are running from pillar to post to fetch tickets.As you sow, so shall you reap!The CEO needs to be complimented for his bold action for restricting political gimmickry.

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