Internal rift among Congress members may hit the prospect of the party’s official candidates in two constituencies of Uttarakhand — Tehri and Pauri.
Detractors complain that the candidates are more interested in persuading outsiders to join the Congress in their bid to manipulate the voters in selective pockets but have failed to pacify their own workers and leaders within the organisation.
As a result the detractors have not only decided to protest against the party nominees openly but not to work for them either in Tehri or Pauri alleging that they are not the right candidates.
Sources also said that they are angry with the Congress candidates as the latter did not take care of their interests after the party came to power.
“The Congress candidate never bothered to return to us after the 2012 by-poll. He failed to prepare his constituency for the 2014 general though he was defeated by the same BJP candidate,” said a Congress leader from Tehri.
Another party leader from Uttarkashi said that the Congress candidate was least bothered to express his solidarity with the people in their misery during the mid-June disaster last year.
“Cong’s Tehri candidate Saket Bahuguna and his father Vijay Bahuguna did not care for Congressmen from hill areas while appointing heads of corporations and other government bodies. All appointments were made either from Dehradun or other parts of the state but leaders of hill areas were not adjusted. This was despite the fact that Saket Bahuguna won from all five hill assembly constituencies in 2012 Tehri by-poll,” said a senior Congress leader from Uttarkashi who is also a PCC functionary.
Similar situation exists in Pauri. Although Congress nominee Harak Singh Rawat has been successful in uniting the party leaders of different groups but he still has to battle it out with voters who are nursing their wounds to settle scores with him for neglecting Rudraprayag. Rawat has also recently managed to endear senior BJP leader Kedar Singh Phonia who has been sidelined by the saffron brigade for quite sometime now. Phonia has strong presence in Chamoli.
Meanwhile, Mussoorie MLA Ganesh Joshi has hit out at Congress for failing to ensure rehabilitation of the disaster-hit families and said that this would trouble the party in polls. He also accused Saket Bahuguna of indulging in corruption during his father Vijay Bahuguna’s tenusre as CM and claimed BJP candidate from Tehri Mala Raklaxmi would win with a big margin.
“Saket has a very poor public image as he was engaged in brokering large deals and the public favours Shah who has a clean image,” Joshi said.
He also said the poor response of the state government in responding to the flashfloods and its failure to provide adequate rehabilitation would be detrimental for the Congress.
“The disaster affected have not even been adequately compensated and even after 9 months a large number such families are living in tents as houses have not been provided to them,” Joshi alleged.
He also expressed confidence that the BJP would bag all the five LS seats.