Big blow to ruling Congress in Uttarakhand
Ravindra Saini in Dehradun
The BJP’s tsunami swept away Congress in Uttarakhand. Holding on to the success achieved in Tehri parliamentary by-election last year, the BJP in the state once again delved a body blow to the ruling Congress by emerging victorious in four of the total six civic bodies. Two bodies have been won by independents, one of which is a BJP rebel Yashpal Rana who was elected Mayor in Roorkee. The Congress drew a blank all over the state. The results were announced on April 30.
The ruling Congress suffered a major humiliation in the poll at 69 municipalities of the State, coming in third after the BJP and Independents for the posts of Mayors and Chairpersons. Out of 69 bodies, the BJP won 22 municipalities, independents 22 and Congress 20. The BSP won three while the UKD and SP won one each.
BJP candidates were elected mayor in Dehradun, Haridwar, Haldwani and Rudrapur. Vinod Chamoli won in Dehradun, while Dr Jogendra Rautela in Haldwani, Manoj Garg in Haridwar and Soni Koli won in Rudraprayag. BJP candidates also won the chairpersons seats in Champawat, Bhowali, Kaladhungi, Bhimtal, Didihaat, Gangolihaat, Kapkot, Joshimath, Nandprayag, Gairsen, Muni-ki-Reti, Kirtinagar, Doiwala, Swargashram, Rudraprayag, Agustyamuni and Laksar.
The BJP Tsunami also swept away the Congress in both the Kumaoni and Garhwal regions and with its confidence restored, the party is looking forward to the 2014 Lak Sabha elections. In all the elections were held for 690 seats (for ward members) and 60 civic bodies in the state. The BJP had fought the elections on 66 civic bodies.
The major reason behind such a huge success of BJP is being attributed to the united fight put forth by majority of the party leaders. It is significant because the party had lost the Assembly just by a one seat. “What clicked for us was a united effort put up by the party workers who went from house to house galvanising people. Beside the Congress government’s one-year has been marred by corruption and poor governance. The interest of the state and its people were sacrificed at the altar of illegal sale of land and corporate interest. The Congress government under Vijay Bhauguna took one bad decision after another. It even reversed several good decisions taken by the previous Khanduri government this greatly disturbed and angered the people,” said state BJP chief Teerath Singh Rawat.
Interestingly, so complete has been sway of the BJP in these elections that its candidates emerged victorious with large margins. In Dehradun, BJP’s Vinod Chamoli was elected second time by defeating the Congress candidate by a margin of 22,912 votes. In Haldwani, where the elections for the post of mayor were held for the first time, Jogender Rautela won by over 1409 votes by defeating the Samajwadi candidate Matin Sadik. In Haridwar the BJP candidate Manoj Garg won by 17,147 votes. In Rudrapur, Soni Koli defeated Independent Mamata Koli by a margin of 4042 votes.
The Congress lost heavily in the area of influence of party bigwigs like Cabinet Minister Indira Hriyadesh, Union Minister Harish Rawat, Congress chief and cabinet Minister Yashpal Arya and Cabinet Minister Harak Singh Rawat as none of the Congress candidates could win the Mayoral or the chairman seat. “In 2012 elections, the Congress was one seat ahead of the BJP but it managed to clobber up support and went ahead to form the government in the state. We were outnumbered but not beaten and managed to rattle the Congress in the Tehri parliamentary election. But the Congress did not learn any lessons; it continued to be in a deep slumber,” said Harbans Kapoor, BJP MLA and senior leader.
The urban local body elections are usually held on local issues like water and power supply, roads, sanitation etc. It would be proper to describe the results of the Municipal polls held on April 28 as a major comment on the performance of Congress Government led by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna or a mandate on the performance of Congress led UPA Government at the Centre. According to the results declared, Congress has done far worse than it was generally expected from the ruling party just one year after it won the Assembly elections.
It can’t be denied that BJP has stolen a march over Congress in the elections to most Urban Local Bodies in spite of the fact that it was ruling most municipal bodies during the past 5 years. Through there was a strong anti-incumbency factor working against the BJP, yet it managed not only to retain much of its hold in the urban areas of the State but also took considerable lead over the Congress which had outperformed it only months ago in the Assembly elections.
Former Chief Minister Shri BC Khanduri said the BJP would repeat its feat in the coming Panchayat elections and also Lok Sabha elections due in 2014. He said the public has given a befitting reply to Congress for its misrule. Leader of Opposition in Assembly Shri Ajay Bhatt said the Congress tasted defeat due to anti-people policies introduced by the Congress-led state government in the last one year. He said the development activities including repairing of roads, construction of schools and health centres, especially in the higher parts of the States, have come to a stop during the Congress regime in the State. Bhatt claimed that the BJP candidates will repeat the history of winning in the next general elections.