Fearing incumbency, BJP in Uttarakhand denies ticket to 9 MLA’s, including minister

Dehradun : If the first list of forty eight candidates announced by the BJP high command for the Uttarakhand vidhan sabha elections scheduled for Jan 30 is any indication, the party is definitely not banking upon the performance of its government in the state during the last five years to retain power.

In fact, the list clearly indicates that the mood of the high command is to take care of the incumbency factor, which is perhaps why it is to a great extent depending upon changing the sitting MLAs.

In the list released in New Delhi late last evening, as many as nine sitting MLAs have been discarded, including sports minister Khazan Dass, who contested from the Dhanaulti vidhan sabha seat in the last election.

If party sources are to be believed the second list of 22 candidates which is likely to be released in a day or two contains more surprises.

There are rumours that in this list as many as 11 sitting MLAs including a couple of ministers may also make way for new faces.

Obviously the party high command feels that the performance of these legislators in their respective assembly segments has not been at par.

But it is not only new faces that the party is banking upon, even senior party leaders have been shifted from their assembly segment to new ones.

The reason here again is being attributed to taking stock of the incumbency factor, as the high command feels that senior leaders may have better prospects winning from new assembly segments rather than the ones that they represented.

What else could be the reason for the party high command deciding that chief minister BC Khanduri who was brought in just over a couple of months back with much fanfare at the helm of affairs in the state to restore the sagging image of the party has also been asked to contest from Kotdwara, which is in the lower hills and almost considered to be in the plains of this small mountain state.

Likewise former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, who was unceremoniously shown the boot and replaced by Khanduri has also been asked to leave his constituency in Pauri Garhwal and given a ticket from Doiwala in Dehra Dun district.

Why are these leaders being asked to leave the hills and seek their fortune in the plains, is the question doing the rounds.

Meanwhile the Congress high command is expected to come with its list of candidates on Wednesday or Thursday.

It has the advantage that it can take the BJP list into consideration before finalizing the Congress candidates and thereby stands to gain.

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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