Dehra Dun : Campaigning will come to an end on Monday at 5 p m for the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand. And though predicting who will be the ultimate choice of the electorate, as of now it appears to be advantage BJP.
True that the meeting of UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Roorkee on Sunday was a resounding success, and even neutral observers put the number of crowds at almost about the same as that in Modi’s rally at the same venue, but there was a rider.
Political observers here were of the opinion that as there is a Congress government in this small hill state, and the venue of the rally falls in Haridwar Lok Sabha seat from where chief minister Harish Rawat’s wife is the party candidate, no efforts were spared to even ferry crowds to the venue to make it a grand success.
It is also a fact that while the BJP rank and file had become complacent over the last few days, the Congress workers had geared themselves up with constant visit by leaders from Delhi, which did turn the tide in favour of the ruling party. But by how much is the ultimate question?
There is also no denying the fact that the shipshod manner in which the relief and restoration works were done post the June 16-17 flash floods and Himalayan tsunami by the previous Vijay Bahuguna government, is going to cost the Congress heavily in the Tehri and Pauri Lok Sabha seats.
Regardless of the efforts put in by his successor Harish Rawat in restoring the roads that were washed away or damaged in the June 16-17 devastation, it was just a matter of too little being done a bit too late and even then there is much yet to be desired on this front.
Though Vijay Bahuguna, whose son is the Congress candidate from Tehri, despite having lost the by-election some months back to BJP’s Mala Raj Laxmi Shah, claims that Saket lost because the number of subsidized gas cylinders was reduced to six, and it is not a factor in this election, he remains quiet on the relief and restoration works undertaken when he was chief minister of the state.
Chief minister Harish Rawat is putting in his all in the Haridwar seat, from where his wife Renuka Rawat is the Congress candidate, as he feels his future at the helm of the state will depent upon the outcome from this parliamentary segment, which could be partially correct.
In the two Lok Sabha seats in Kumaon division, there are no local factors except whether the veteran Congress leader Narain Dutt Tewari could tilt the scales. But so far he has sided with the Congress party and as such his being sidelined by the party high command may not cost the party heavily at the hustings.
It is only to be seen how much of the Modi factor will be responsible for seeing the BJP candidates through in the Kumaon division, though political observers feel that the incumbency factor against the sitting MPs could also play a role.
Incidentally the ‘dream girl’ of yesteryears, Hema Malini was in the state capital and held a brief road show for the BJP candidate from Tehri.
Though the people thronged the road where her caravan was to pass through and caused traffic jams, but minus the make up, the people seemed to be disappointed, but she did manage to draw the crowd.