One of the top tourist destinations, Nainital is witnessing an unusual political heat this winter. The usually quiet assembly constituency has seen an upheaval of sorts with BJP naming Sanjeev Arya as party candidate from the seat. Sanjeev was awarded the ticket within four hours after he and his father Yashpal Arya joined the BJP. Yashpal was cabinet minister in Harish Rawat government and switched over to the saffron party after Congress reportedly cited its “one family one ticket” rule.
The move, however, has boomeranged with supporters of Hem Chandra Arya, BJP’s official candidate in 2012 assembly polls, making their resentment known. Hem Chandra, sources close to him, said is likely to contest as an independent candidate.
In a state where most seats witnessed a bipolar fight between Congress and BJP in the three assembly polls held so far, Nainital is an aberration. It has seen representation by the two national parties and also by the UKD, the only regional party in state.
UKD’s Narayan Singh Jantwal had won the 2002 polls defeating nearest Congress rival Congress’ Jaya Bisht. Jantwal, however, lost the seat to BJP’s Kharak Singh Bohara in the 2007 polls. In the next polls, in 2012, the constituency was declared reserved for scheduled castes. Congress fielded Sarita Arya who bagged the seat defeating nearest rival BJP’s Hem Chandra Arya by over 6,000 votes.
While Congress party has re-nominated Sarita for February 15 polls, BJP is witnessing resentment in its local rank and file. While BJP leader Hem Chandra is preparing to contest as an independent, the state leadership and Yashpal Arya, now a BJP candidate form Bajppur, are trying to persuade him to support Sanjeev.
Sources in BJP claimed that even RSS cadre in the district is unhappy with BJP’s decision to field Sanjeev and is no too willing to work for him in the ensuing elections.
On the other hand Sarita and her supporters are eyeing an easy win. “While BJP’s choice of candidate is bound to anger the saffron party workers, Congress will win the election on the works carried out here. Several new roads have been constructed in remote hill villages and several government high schools have been upgraded. A plan is afoot to beautify the Naini Lake and hill town in order attract more tourists. I have utilised all my MLA LAD fund for carrying out development works here,” said Sarita.