HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Spectre of ‘sabotage’ haunts both Congress and BJP in Uttarakhand

Anupam Trivedi  Dehradun, March 30, 2014
First Published: 21:45 IST(30/3/2014) | Last Updated: 21:48 IST(30/3/2014)

Even as BJP has announced its candidates for all the five LS seats, Congress is yet to do the same. A section of both Congress and BJP leaders feel that there is an attempt to ‘sabotage’ the whole process.

A section in Congress feel that even if any leader’s name is announced, he or she will not get the desired support from within the party. They also fear that ‘forces’ might work against the candidates.

The Congress Pauri MP Satpal Maharaj, who recently switched allegiance to BJP, had blamed chief minister Harish Rawat for ‘non cooperation’. Maharaj said that the CM has assured the party high command that he would ensure victory for the party in at least three seats — that does not include Pauri which Maharaj represents.

Now, with Maharaj no more with the Congress, the ruling party is hunting for a suitable candidate who can take on BJP strongman and former chief minister BC Khanduri in Pauri Garhwal.

“Maharaj was a natural choice but he had strong reasons to believe that Rawat camp would have worked against him and therefore he expressed his unwillingness to contest the polls,” claims one of Maharaj’s close aide who is still with the Congress.

The sabotage feeling is also haunting the Vijay Bahuguna camp. Bahuguna has repeatedly expressed that neither he nor his son Saket are interested in contesting the poll from Tehri. Nonetheless party feels that Bahugunas are the ones who can counter the sitting BJP MP Mala Rajlaxmi Shah.

Sources in the Congress said Vijay Bahuguna wants an assurance that he or his son should not be left midway.

“There is nothing like differences or sabotage. The party is in a process to declare candidates in a day or two,” informed Surender Kumar, Congress spokesperson on Sunday.

The opposition BJP is no different. An audio tape that surfaced two days back has left the BJP baffled. In the audio tape, the party MLA from Haridwar Madan Kaushik is allegedly asking his supporters to vote for anyone expect party candidate and ex-CM Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

However, Kaushik has accepted that the audio tape bears his voice but alleged that ‘the tape has been edited’. The BJP MLA was himself a strong contender for the ticket.

On the other hand, former MP BS Rawat who has openly revolted against BS Koshyari, ex-CM and party candidate from Nainital met party president Rajnath Singh in New Delhi. “The party is keeping an eye on the ongoing developments. Rawatji has been pacified and he will work for BJP candidate. Kaushikji is also with the party,” Prakash Suman Dhyani, BJP spokesperson said.

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