It is direct fight between the BJP and the Congress in Uttarakhand. Though the SP, BSP and UKD candidates are also in the fray at all the seats, they are not in a position to even register their effective presence. After delimitation, the geography of all the seats also changed and some heavyweights of both the parties had to change their constituencies. The polling in Uttarakhand is in last phase on May 13.
The electioneering gained momentum in the state with filing of nominations by candidates for all the five seats. Out of total five seats the BJP is in very good position at Nainital, Almora, Pauri and Tehri. There is a triangular contest at Haridwar seat.
BJP heavyweight and former Union Minister Shri Bachi Singh Rawat had to change his seat from Almora to Nainital as Almora has been reserved for SC candidate. The Congress repeated its sitting MP KC Singh Baba from this seat which was vacated by former Chief Minister Shri ND Tewari. The Congress is facing stiff opposition even from its own workers on the grounds that Baba does not have mass appeal. The Congress leaders say Baba remained aloof for most of the past five years and people in the area don'tfeel connected to him. Another reason, which is going against Baba, is the presence of strong opponent in the fray. In 2004, the Congress candidate secured 44.7 per cent votes and drubbed BJP'sVijay Bansal by a margin of nearly eight per cent votes.
Undoubtedly Bachi Singh Rawat has several advantages over Baba. Shri Rawat is former Union Minister. He is BJP state president. He is known for his simplicity and is easily available. He is in regular touch with the people. Besides Shri Rawat, UKD president Narayan Singh Jantwal and BSP'sNarayan Pal are also in the fray.
BJP fielded international shooter Jaspal Rana from Tehri seat, which was lost by BJP last time to Congress'sVijay Bahuguna. Maharaja Manvendra Shah represented this seat on BJP ticket many times. Maharaja Manujendra Shah, son of the late Maharaja Manvendra Shah, and the royal dynasty has extended total support to Jaspal Rana.
Congress repeated Shri Vijay Bahuguna here, while the BSP fielded BJP rebel MLA Munna Chauhan. Samajwadi Party fielded Hussain Ahmad. The victory margin between the Congress candidate Bahuguna and BJP candidate in 2007 by-election was just 21,000 votes. Jaspal Rana says his priority would be to chalk out a concrete plan to check migration from the hills and to provide employment to the youth.
Lt. Gen. (Retd.) TPS Rawat, sitting BJP MP, and Congress'sSatpal Maharaj are again in the fray from Pauri seat. Chief Minister BC Khanduri himself represented this constituency many times. He has done a lot of developmental work in this area, which will help in Shri Rawat'svictory. Shri Rawat has left a good impression on the minds of people in this constituency through his work. He spent all his time among them, sharing their joys and sorrows.
BJP'sSwami Yatindranand is in a strong position in the holy city of Haridwar. All the saints of the city have extended support to him. They are happy with BJP for giving ticket to a saint and respecting the feelings of the saints. Swami Yatindranand is a personality of nationalistic thoughts. He has good image among people. The Congress has fielded Shri Harish Rawat from this seat. It was 20 years ago that Congress won the Haridwar seat. Though, Almora is Harish Rawat'shome constituency, he lost Almora for four consecutive times and in 2004 his wife too failed to win the seat. Last year, Shri Rawat had announced not to contest any election till 2010 but he is back in the fray. There is a sizable number of Muslim voters at Haridwar seat. There is fight between the SP candidate Ambrish Kumar, BSP candidate Sajjad and Congress candidate Harish Rawat for these Muslim votes.
For the only reserved seat of Almora the BJP has fielded its Minister in the state government Shri Ajay Tamta. The Congress fielded Pradeep Tamta. Ajay Tamta is just 32 years old. He is very much popular among voters in this area. As a cabinet minister he did lot of development works in his constituency. He is easily available to all the people. BJP is sure of winning this seat.
Talking to Organiser Chief Minister BC Khanduri hoped that the BJP would win all the five seats in the state. He said Uttarakhand BJP would contribute towards the NDA'swin in the Lok Sabha elections and in making Shri LK Advani the next Prime Minister. The BJP is contesting the elections on the basis of the performance of its government in the state. BJP workers are working hard to ensure that NDA is voted to power and LK Advani becomes the next PM.
BJP spokesman and Health Minister of Uttarakhand Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ?Nishank? charged Congress with trying to mislead the people of Uttarakhand by making false claims in respect of development. He accused the Congress-led UPA government of discriminating against Uttarakhand. The period of special industrial package was reduced, kerosene and food-grains quota of Uttarakhand was reduced, and there was no representation of Uttarakhand in the government, he claimed.
Meanwhile, All India Ex-Para Military Personnel Association extended total support to BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.