In ‘Devbhoomi’ Uttarakhand, Gangotri is unlike any other assembly constituency. A lore has it that the party which wins this seat, forms the government in Uttarakhand.
With 82,415 voters, the Gangotri constituency in Uttarkashi district houses the famous shrine by the same name, which is the seat of Goddess Ganga and the last road heads to the river’s glacial origin, 18 km uphill at Gomukh. In the 2012 election, Congress’ Vijay Pal Singh Sajwan had polled 20,246 votes, defeating BJP’s Gopal Singh Rawat (13,223 votes) with a margin of around 14% votes. That year, the Congress went on to form the government in the hill state.
Prior to that, Rawat had defeated Congress’ Sajwan in the 2007 assembly election by a margin of 11% votes. The saffron party had captured power that year.
In 2002, Sajwan had defeated Communist Party of India candidate Kamala Ram Nautiyal with barely 2% votes, and the grand old party formed its government. It was the first assembly election held after the formation of Uttarakhand in 2000.
And the ‘lore has held true not just in the past three assembly elections held after formation of Uttarakhand, but also when the region was a part of Uttar Pradesh and the present-day Gangotri seat was a part of the Uttarkashi constituency, locals say.
This time, the poll battle on Gangotri seat - which has largely been between BJP and Congress - has become a triangular contest. Giving a stiff competition to Rawat and Sajwan is former BJP leader Surat Ram Nautiyal, who is contesting as an Independent. There are total nine candidates in the poll fray on this seat, including three Independents.
Attributing the lore to the mystic power of Maa Ganga, Gangotri temple committee chairman Bhageshwar Semwal says both the parties had worked very hard, time and again, to win this seat. “It (the lore) has been because of Maa Ganga’s blessings...it’s a divine land and we are sure that whoever wins this seat this time, will make the government again. Even if an Independent wins, he/she will play the kingmaker in forming the government,” he told HT.