Dehra Dun : Riding on the Modi factor, it appears that complacency has set into the rank and file of the BJP in Uttarakhand.
And even now the die hard supporters of the party are saying, albeit in hushed tones, the party may not sweep through all the five Lok Sabha seats in this small hill state, which till a fortnight back was on the cards.
It is not that the Congress has done anything special or their star campaigners have come to change the way the wind was blowing, but the party workers have just maintained their slow and steady campaigning, which has now started to show its effects. Though how much in roads it will make into the electorate and will it change the voters’ mind; only time will tell.
But one thing is for sure. Even political pundits who were writing off the Congress party in all the five seats of the state, feel that the scenario has now changed and in almost all of them a keen contest is now on the cards.
“There is no single factor responsible for this, except the fact that the workers despite being on a low have gone on with their work in persuading the voters.”
Apparently the BJP rank and file is relying too much on the Modi factor, which no doubts is very much in evidence in the plains of this small hill state. However, as one goes up the hills, it is not much of a factor as the media hype is not available to the villagers of the hinterlands. But there is a negative feeling for the Congress, which is definitely visible in the upper reaches.
A reason for this is the fact that not much restoration work has been done in areas that were devastated by the heavy rains, particularly the Kedarnath Valley that was hit by the June 16-17 ‘tsunami’. Though the Congress government has been claiming that a lot of restoration work was done and crores of rupees was spent on it, the story at the grass root level is different.
The luke warm response to the char dham yatra from pilgrims from various parts of the country, despite the spate of advertisements by the Uttarakhand government, indicate that the confidence of the people from other states also remains shaken, which is perhaps why there are so few takers for the yatra this season. True the government is doing its all, but it does not seem to be sufficient.
Coming back to the Congress, realizing that the party workers have managed to change the tide that was going the BJP way the party high command is all out to go for the kill during the last days of campaigning, as voting in Uttarakhand will be held on May 7.
Star campaigners, including the mother-son duo of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to name a few will be addressing election meetings at various places in the state.
And of course chief minister Harish Rawat, who as of now seems to be concentrated in Haridwar parliamentary constituency from where his wife Renuka Rawat is the Congress candidate, will have to take time out, particularly to campaign in the Kumaon division of this small hill state, as he is said to have a hold in this region.
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.