Congress on Monday hit back at opposition BJP for dubbing chief minister Harish Rawat’s decision to contest from two assembly seats as a sign of lack of confidence.
Rawat’s decision to contest election from Kichha and Haridwar (Rural) falling in plain areas was a strategic move, Congress chief spokesperson Mathura Dutt Joshi told Hindustan Times. “It was a strategic move as it will electorally benefit our party in four districts, which comprise 33 assembly seats,” he said.
The reaction came a day after BJP claimed Rawat’s decision to contest from two seats betrayed his lack of confidence. “Such a move clearly shows that the CM was not confident of winning election from one assembly seat,” BJP spokesperson Vinay Goyal said. He had taken a jibe at Rawat for not re-contesting from Dharchula, a hill-locked seat from where he won a by-poll in 2014 to enter the assembly.
“He (Rawat) repeatedly issues statements on checking forced migration from hills,” Goyal said, adding the CM ditched the people of a hilly area in favour of plains. “That shows the stark difference between what he preaches and what he practices.”
Congress, however, rubbished all such allegations. “The kind of steps the CM initiated to revive agri-pastoral economy of the hills to check the forced migration was unprecedented,” Joshi claimed. “No CM in the past had initiated such hill-centric initiatives.”
He said Rawat’s decision to contest election from two assembly constituencies falling in the plain districts was a strategic move. “The CM from two seats signifies he will win election not just from there (the hills),” Joshi said, claiming such a move would benefit the party electorally in the entire Terai-Bhabhar region.
“That means our party’s popularity will rise in some 34 assembly constituencies, which will be a huge electoral gain,” he claimed. Joshi claimed Congress would also gain specifically in two neighbouring assembly constituencies Bajpur and Sitarganj, which fell vacant after Congress turncoats - Yashpal Arya and Vijay Bahuguna - joined the opposition BJP.