Political parties and turncoats are keeping fingers crossed as there seems no wave clearly blowing in favour of either Congress or Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttarakhand that goes to polls on Wednesday. Riding high on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image, BJP is hoping to reap dividend in the hill areas. But in the plain areas, it is Congress which is hoping to double its number from the last polls.
Uttarakhand which has 70 assembly seats is broadly divided into three regions – Kumaon, Garhwal and plain areas, consisting Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar districts. These two districts together have 20 seats. In 2012, BJP won 12 seats from both the districts. In this part of the state, the political equations and issues are entirely different from that rest of the hills. The BSP won 3 seats while Congress could get only 5 seats.
The scene is different in the five hill districts of Kumaon. The ruling Congress bagged 11 seats and BJP won 8 seats. In Garhwal region’s six hill districts too, the Congress was ahead with 17 seats while BJP could win 11 constituencies. Two seats went to independents and one to UKD.
However after the 2013 June floods, the Congress has faced public ire in the Garhwal region. Experts feel the Congress could lose grip in the Garhwal districts owing to negative publicity and lack of focus during campaigning.
“BJP was focused in Garhwal region particularly in the last few days of campaigning. It could help the saffron party,” said Anil Bahuguna, Pauri Garhwal based political commentator.
The saffron party has campaigned across the length and breadth of Kumaon. On Sunday, the PM held two rallies one each in Kumaon and Garhwal, with a clear indication that the party is banking on votes from the hills.
In Haridwar and US Nagar district, demonetization may play spoilsport. Although the PM has addressed two rallies there, the sentiment there is not in favour of the BJP.
Besides the Congress turncoats contesting on BJP ticket have upset the morale of saffron party cadre. BJP has given tickets to three turncoats in the plain districts. Former minister Yashpal Arya is facing trouble in his constituency as most of the BJP workers there refused to work for him. The situation is same in Jaspur, where party candidate Shailendra Singhal faced a difficult time trying to cut ice with the workers there.