BJP, Cong face odds in run up to Uttarakhand polls

Dehradun : With the countdown to the elections to the vidhan sabha having started with polls slated for Jan 30, both the BJP and the Congress are fighting against heavy odds in Uttarakhand. While the BJP is facing its worst ever dissent after the first list of tickets was released, the Congress is combating the jinx attached to Sonia’s visit to the state.

The state BJP headquarters at Balbir Road here saw some slogan shouting against its leaders by none other than their own legislators and their supporters, who have now been denied tickets. In fact some of them made it very clear that denied a ticket did not mean that they would not contest the forthcoming elections and would file in their papers as rebel BJP candidates.

And with the second BJP list of candidates, comprising some 28 names to be released any time, likely to see some more sitting MLAs being refused tickets to put up new faces and fight the incumbency factor, there is all the likelihood of more dissidence on the cards. Even some of the most loyal partymen, like sports minister Khajan Singh have said in no uncertain terms that ticket or no ticket, they will be contesting the coming elections.

While the Congress could face the same fate once the party also releases its list of candidates, but as of now what is plaguing it is the jinx attached to Sonia’s visit to the state. She was supposed to visit the state on two occasions but her visit was cancelled both times, much to the disappointment of the party tank and file that had worked overtime to ferry in crowds and chagrin of party leaders who were banking uponm her visit to make political gains.

The last time Sonia was to visit the state was when she had to lay the foundation stone of the proposed Rishikesh-Karanprayag railway line at Gauchar. The ceremony was supposed to kick start the Congress campaign for the vidhan sabha elections and give a tremendous boost to the party prospects, the railway line would meet a long standing demand of the people of the state. But being indisposed, she could not make it at the last minute.

The AICC chairperson was supposed to address a huge public rally at Haldwani on Wednesday and it was being mentioned in Congress circles that she would also make public some of the prominent names who would be contesting the elections from various parts of the state, besides promising sops to the people. But even this visit could not materialize as her chopper could not take off from Delhi due to heavy fog.

The cancellation of her visits has not only given a whipping handle to the ruling BJP in Uttarakhand but their party leaders are going about spreading canard that Sonia is against the people of the state, which is why she has not come on both the occasions.

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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