BJP snatches Tehri Lok Sabha seat from Congress
Congress received a major setback in Uttarakhand when BJP snatched Tehri Lok Sabha seat from it. BJP candidate Smt Mala Rajlakshmi Shah defeated the son of Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and Congress candidate Saket Bahuguna by a margin of 22,694 votes. The byelection was necessitated by Shri Bahuguna resigning after becoming Chief Minister.
Smt Mala Rajlakshmi is daughter-in-law of former BJP MP the late Manvendra Shah, who had represented the seat for a record eight times. It seemed to be a neck and neck fight initially, but six of the seven assembly segments of Dehradun district gave the BJP an unassailable lead. In Dehradun district the Congress candidate got a lead in only Chakrata assembly segment but lost in all the other six assembly segments.
During the campaign CM Vijay Bahuguna had admitted that the bypoll result would be a verdict on his image and the work of his government so far, and also a rehearsal for the 2014 general elections. The result of the bypoll would have a long term effect on Uttarakhand politics. The result has come as a severe setback to the Congress government. This time the BJP has defeated the Congress in nine of the 14 assembly constituencies. It has even made inroads in Gangotri, Raipur, Rajpur Road and Vikas Nagar, all Congress forts. The BJP has registered a lead in Yamunotri and Tehri Assembly seat as well. Interestingly, Chief Minister Bahuguna’s residence falls in Raipur constituency, where the BJP has registered a record win by 10,134 votes.
BJP lost all five Lok Sabha seats of the state in general elections of 2009. So the Tehri bypoll will bring phenomenal change in the State and its politics as well. For the first time in the history of Indian democracy, voters were seen crying at the polling booth. Even voters were seen saying that this time, “we are not asking what to eat but asking how to cook?” Due to limitation of LPG cylinders, Union Government has created fuss in every street. Earlier, people were able to buy a cylinder in Rs 500-600 in black, but now they have to fetch by paying Rs 1100-1200 Rs per cylinder. Due to this, even tea price has increased and people can be seen arguing with vendors at every nook and corner.
Buoyed by the reversal suffered by the Congress, the BJP has demanded resignation of the Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna on moral grounds, on the plea that he was not paying due attention to the developmental works in Uttarakhand.
Talking to Organiser, state BJP president Bishan Singh Chufal said the main reason for BJP victory is the fact that the day the by-election was announced the party rank and file started preparing for the success of the party candidate, regardless of who gets the party ticket and this gave the necessary impetus to electioneering and the results were there for all to see. Thanking the people of the state for reposing faith in the BJP he said there was resentment amongst the masses because of the wrong policies and programmes of the Congress-led UPA government. He said another major factor was that all developmental works had come to a standstill during the six-month present Congress government in the state, during which time no policy or programme for the state had either been chalked out or announced. “What is worse is that money for ongoing works has also been stopped, putting them into a quandary”, he claimed.
Leader of Opposition Ajay Bhatt admitted that the BJP workers had been successful in raising the issue of rising prices, which had become a big burden for the common man. He said the number of announcements made by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and his team did not cut much ice with the masses, for they all realised that they were mere election announcements and would never materialise.
Former Chief Ministers Shri BC Khanduri and Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal also lashed out at the Congress government for steep hike in prices of essential commodities. They clarified that party leaders would strive to further the cause of the common man and blamed Congress policies for growing unemployment, inflation and corruption across the nation. Echoing same feeling, Rajya Sabha MP Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari said the Congress Government has proved to be a non-starter. Instead of taking up development projects for the uplift of weaker section of the society, the CM was busy in campaigning for his son and misused the Government machinery for campaigning process but finally common man has rejected them. “It has been more than six months since the Congress was voted to power in the State but the CM has completely failed to take every member of the party together on development plan,” he lamented, adding that this is the first step towards premature end to the Congress rule in Uttarakhand.
Apart from many reasons, the prime reason of BJP victory in this bypoll is that the BJP fought it unitedly. If the same spirit would have been infused in the assembly polls the party would not have been out of power. No matter, this victory also shows that the BJP house in the state is in order and it is the beginning of the end of Congress misrule from the Centre and the state.