The ruling Congress party seems to be in a rather defensive mode in the battle for Lok Sabha and has decided to fight for retaining at least three of the five key constituencies during the elections.
The reason is the anti-Congress sentiment coupled with the rise in BJP’s support base in the state, sources say and attribute it to the Narendra Modi factor. His rallies have attracted more crowds here than in Delhi, they say, which gives a glimpse of what is in the air. However, the ground realities can change overnight, they admit.
At present, the major concern for chief minister Harish Rawat is to save Haridwar, Nainital and Almora seats from slipping into the BJP’s hand. The Congress had won all the five seats during 2009 elections. But, 2012 bi-poll gave made it lose two seats in the Terai belt. Sources say this loss and the Modi ghost have turned the Congress defensive this time and has begun the revamping work in the three constituencies alone.
In fact, insiders admit that the rank and file of the ruling party was demoralised to the extent of losing all the five constituencies. But, the change of guard in the state has inspired them with a new hope.
Once the Congress is able to regain its confidence in these constituencies, Rawat will focus in Pauri and Tehri as well but only if time allows his government.
“AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Dehraudun on February 23 was a clear indication of sudden swing in public mood in Uttarakhand. The message was loud and clear that the BJP is unlikely to have cakewalk in 2014 general elections that it had assumed for. The Congress is presently having an edge over the BJP and we can win majority seats in the state” said PCC spokesperson Surender Aggarwal.