Dehradun : He may have been the poster boy for the BJP during the recently held vidhan sabha elections in Uttarakhand and his face smiled from almost every paper where elections were placed and on posters put up in this entire mountain state. “Khanduri hai zaroori” had become the slogan which single handedly the BJP hoped would see the party through.
But the irony of the situation is that the man, who helped a number of party candidates win, just by being portrayed and projected as the next chief minister of the state lost himself. He was humbled, if not completely humiliated by Surendra Singh Negi of the Congress from the Kotdwara assembly segment and that too by a substantial margin of about 4000 votes.
What was initially being taken for a cake walk victory for Khanduri, turned out to be his Waterloo in as much that various forces came to play. The most important perhaps was the fact that the sitting BJP MLA, Shailendra Rawat reluctantly made way for Khanduri to contest from Kotdwara and as such most of his supporters were against Khanduri from day one.
Second Rawat belonged to the Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank camp. And as Khanduri had replaced Nishnak as the chief minister, the latter was eager to get his pound of flesh. There are rumours in BJP circles within the state that Nishank allegedly played a stellar role in ensuring that Rawat and his supporters work against Khanduri, albeit on the sly.
Third Khanduri was banking to quite an extent on the ex-servicemen votes in the assembly segment, but with the Uttarakhand Raksha Morcha having put up its candidate, the serving army votes as also those of the ex-servicemen were split, with not much going in favour of the chief minister.
Party sources here said that allegations of sabotaging had been taken up with the BJP high command by both Khanduri and even Nishank. Initially it was Nishank who went to the party high command and alleged that his elections had been sabotaged by Khanduri and his supporters who had financed for the CDs and booklets that were distributed in his Doiwala assembly segment. However, he managed to win by about 2000 votes over his Congress rival Hira Singh Bist.
But for the BJP, it will be hard to take the defeat of their poster boy. The man who single handedly was responsible of raising the party prospects from a sure defeat to a neck-to-neck position and create the possibility of forming the next government in the state with the help of independents and others.