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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Nishank at advantage, unless Cong fields ‘Pahadi’ candidate

Radhika Nagrath  Dehradun, March 27, 2014
First Published: 23:33 IST(27/3/2014) | Last Updated: 23:41 IST(27/3/2014)

Haridwar: Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank, former chief minister and BJP candidate from Haridwar, is holding meetings with party workers to discuss the strategy for the Lok Sabha polls. He went to the house of mayor Manoj Garg and councillor Subhash Kumar on Wednesday to win them over.

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The BJP has got a boost as Congress leader from Tehri constituency Satpal Maharaj has joined the party. Moreover, there seems to be a wave in favour of BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi. But the picture would become clearer after the Congress announces its candidate from Haridwar.

For the sixth day in continuation in the past week, Nishank visited Haridwar on Wednesday. He held a meeting with mayor Manoj Garg and councilors. He had also taken part in the meeting held by Uma Bharti, state election incharge of BJP on Tuesday evening.

In an earlier meeting held a few days ago, in the presence of state party incharge Tirath Singh Rawat, sangathan mantri Sanjay Kumar, former BJP state president Manohar Kant Dhyani and 20 other full time party workers, the party contestant planned strategies for the Lok Sabha polls.

Nishank is reported to have held a closed door meeting with Madan Kaushik who was not given a ticket from Haridwar. But he was not invited to a five-hour meeting held at district party president Om Prakash Jamdagni’s hotel on the national highway.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Jamdagni said, “It was a feedback meeting of party workers who worked full time during the Vidhan Sabha polls to assess strong and weak points and the environment after Congress workers joined our party. We will plan the strategies after categorising the areas into high, medium and low.”

When asked if legislator Madan Kaushik was also part of the meeting, district party president said that no legislator was invited to the meeting.

What are the strengths of Nishank? A lot would depend on whom the Congress fields from Haridwar. But Nishank enjoys the support of the strong party organisation. The party has stronghold on other backward class vote bank including Saini, Jat and Gujjar communities. Nishank belongs to Pahadi community and if another Pahadi candidate from the hill state is not announced by the Congress, then Nishank would have an upper hand. Otherwise the Pahadi votebank, a major part of Haridwar lok sabha seat, will be divided.

What are his weak points? Nishank was allegedly involved in a scam during the Kumbh Mela of 2010 when he was the chief minister. Moreover, about 40% votebank of Dalits and Muslim favours the Congress and BSP.


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