Dehradun: Exit polls have made their predictions. Now, it is the time for the official results to be declared Saturday. As Uttarakhand waits for the unsealing of the fate of a total of 637 candidates at 15 counting centres, some seats would remain in focus ---not because they carry heavyweight status, but because of the interesting contest and candidates.
One of such seats is Yamkeshwar from where Ritu Khanduri is seeking to make her political debut on BJP ticket. Ritu is the daughter of former chief minister and sitting Pauri MP Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri. Ritu is pitted against Shailendra Singh Rawat who had joined congress in January this year after resigning from BJP. Rawat was earlier elected MLA on BJP ticket from Kotdwar seat in 2007. While Ritu is looking to carry forward the legacy of her father, Rawat is considered a local.
Another such seat is Karnprayag, where polling was held on March 9. The polling to the assembly constituency was postponed following the death of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Kuldeep Kanwasi in a road accident three days ahead of the single-phase elections in the state on February 15. Both BJP and Congress left no stone unturned while campaigning in the constituency. Congress poster boy and chief minister Harish Rawat led from the front for Congress. The ruling party has fielded its sitting MLA, Ansuya Prasad Maikhuri, while BJP gave the ticket to Surendra Singh Negi. For BJP, senior leaders including state president Ajay Bhatt, Satpal Maharaj and several others addressed gatherings to woo voter.
Political experts are also keeping an eye on Kotdwar. On a seat where the voting pattern is largely governed by the caste factor, BJP has fielded a Thakur candidate --- Congress-turncoat Harak Singh Rawat. In 2012 polls, Harak Singh had defeated BJP’s Matbar Singh Kandari from Rudraprayag seat. Pitted against Harak Singh is sitting MLA and state health minister Surendra Singh Negi. In last assembly polls, Negi had defeated former CM B C Khanduri with a margin of considerable 4,623 votes.
Congress has reposed faith in its senior-most minister Indira Hridyesh in Haldwani, a seat from where she has won two of three state elections. Last time, she won by a whopping margin of 23,583 votes defeating nearest BJP rival. This time BJP has given ticket to Jogender Singh Rautela, the sitting Haldwani mayor. The young leader, BJP says, enjoys a clean image and will give a tough fight to Hridayesh
It would also be interesting to watch if sitting MLA from Dehradun Cantt, BJP’s Harbans Kapoor, would continue with his winning run. He has already won the seat consecutively for seven terms --- four times when the seat was part of undivided Uttar Pradesh and three times after carving out of Uttarakhand. He is pitted against Congress’s Suryakant Dhasmana who had contested from Lansdowne seat in 2007 election but stood third bagging only 5,335 votes.