Dehradun : Though there is still some time before Uttarakhand goes to poll on Jan 30, and equations could change as the date of poll nears, but early indications are that the state is heading for a hung assembly, with neither the BJP nor the Congress getting a simple majority on their own.
However, the Congress is likely to emerge as the single largest party in the 70-member House, with BJP far behind.
Not being able to live up to the expectations of the masses, deliver the basic required infrastructural facilities and amenities, allegations of rampant prevalent corruption in the state and not being able to improve the economic lot in the rural areas of the state to prevent large scale migration from the villages to the towns has been the bane of the BJP government.
Though the party did change the chief minister mid-stream replacing Ramesh Pokhriyal with Maj Gen (retd) B C Khanduri, but it was too little a bit too late and rather than improving its image amongst the voters, the BJP only gave a whipping handle to the opposition Congress, which raised the query why was the chief minister replaced at the last minute. To this the BJP leaders had no answer.
In a frantic bid to retain power, the BJP high command resorted to fighting the incumbency factor, hoping that this perhaps may help.
In doing so it changed many of its sitting MLAs and even denied ticket to two party ministers, but indications are that this rather than helping has boomeranged, as those denied tickets have decided to contest as party rebels, which will only split the votes.
True that there is also rebellion within the Congress as some of the strong contenders for party tickets have been denied and replaced with comparatively lesser known names.
But by and large the number of such disgruntled elements within the Congress is very few as compred to the BJP, where their numbers are overwhelming. Besides, the Congress has the anti-incumbency factor to its advantage.
While most of the BJP leaders, including its ministers, will have to face the wrath of the masses and have to answer questions as to why the government could not deliver, the party is also faced with the issue of rampant corruption prevalent right from the bottom to the top rung of the babudom, including the bureaucracy.
The man of the street had to literally pay through his nose for even essential services and there was no one to take stock of the situation.
In the case of a hung assembly, as appears to be on the cards right now, independents and the UKD (P) could become forces which could tilt the power balance.
However, the BSP, which is likely to improve its tally from the existing eight MLAs could also throw its weight behind the Congress and thereby make it that much easier for the party to come to power in Uttarakhand.
A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand).
Jagdish had worked with India’s leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards
Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.