Haridwar / Dehradun: The division among minority votes in the plains of Uttarakhand can upset the ruling Congress suggests polling trends in those seats where they play a decisive role.
Chief Minister Harish Rawat is contesting from Haridwar (rural) and Kichha. Both these seats have a sizeable number of minority voters, which the ruling party sees as an advantage. Voters in the minority-dominated areas came out in large numbers to cast vote. Haridwar rural reported more than 68% polling till 4PM. Similarly, Bhagwanpur reported 68%, Piran Kaliyar 70%, Mangalore 67% and Laksar 70%. In US Nagar district, Gadarpur reported 64% voting by 4 PM, Jaspur 63%, Sitargang 60% and Kiccha 58%.
Haridwar and US Nagar districts together have 20 seats, with the former having 11 and the latter 9.But the presence of more than one minority candidate in some crucial seats and polarization among voters left candidates perplexed.
In Haridwar (rural) though minority voters were seen in a large number at Congress tables outside polling booths but doubts were raised after a rush was seen at BSP counters too. BSP fielded Mukkaram Ansari who is said to have a grip on 20,000-odd Ansari voters. BJP’s Yateshwaranand remained focused on the cadre voters.
“A clear division among Muslim vote bank was noticeable in Haridwar rural seat. Congress is slightly better than BSP though the latter also attracted eyeballs,” says Intzar Ali, a local voter of Sarai village that falls in Haridwar rural seat. In other seats of Haridwar, minority voters remained divided. For instance at Peeran Kaliyar that has 60% minority voters, three Muslim candidates are slugging it out and, possibly, giving advantage to the BJP candidate.
“The minority votes got divided among Congress, BSP and Independent contestants at Jwalapur. We support the Independent candidate as Congress didn’t come to us demanding vote,” Manwar a local leader of Jawalpur seat, says.
BSP fielded 9 Muslim candidates in the polls. In US Nagar district, Kichha apparently proved a safe bet for Harish Rawat where he faced no formidable minority face. “We are comfortable and the winning margin of Rawatji will prove our claim,” Ganesh Upadhyay, a senior Congress leader from Kichha, says.
In Dehradun’s Sahaspur which has nearly 34,000 minority voters, Congress candidate Kishore Upadhyay faces a fierce challenge from Aryendra Sharma, who is contesting as an Independent candidate.