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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Whoever wins in Almora seat, it is going to be a close fight

Anupam Trivedi, Hindustan Times  Dehradun, April 21, 2014
First Published: 14:32 IST(21/4/2014) | Last Updated: 16:10 IST(21/4/2014)

Pradeep Tamta, the Congress sitting MP from Almora is known as an honest and humble politician in the constituency.

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Though his attendance of 98% in the Lok Sabha is impressive and far better than most of the other MPs, he has failed to make any impact inside the House.

According to an official report, Tamta has raised only three questions during his entire tenure.

Close to chief minister Harish Rawat, Tamta was quiet vocally critical of the Congress' decision not to make Rawat the chief minister after the 2012 Assembly election.

Now that Rawat has become the CM, he seems to be leaving no stone unturned to ensure the victory of his trusted lieutenant Tamta, who is seeking a second term from Almora.

Rawat recently made an emotional appeal to the voters and asked them to vote for Tamta as his own fate as the chief minister depends on the party's performance in the general election in Uttarakhand.

Recently the Congress high command has issued a perform-or-perish directive to the chief ministers of all Congress-ruled states, stating that their positions depend on the performance of the party in the general election in their respective states.

In fact, the Almora-Pithoragarh parliamentary constituency was Harish Rawat's preferred seat to fight from till it was reserved for SC candidates in 2009.

Prior to 2009, Rawat unsuccessfully contested four elections in a row from Almora.

In 2004, his wife Renuka Rawat contested from Almora, but she had also lost to the BJP.

After years of defeat, the Congress finally wrenched the seat from BJP in 2009 when Tamta secured a 6,000-vote win over his BJP rival.

The majority of the Congress MLAs in the constituency belongs to Harish Rawat's camp and Tamta, being his close aide, gets all the support he wants.

On the other hand, the BJP workers loyalty is divided between two factions headed by Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Bishan Singh Chufal.

BJP candidate Ajay Tamta, who lost to Congress in 2009, has been fielded this time as well. 

Vijay Vardhan Upreti, a Pithoragarh-based journalist, agrees that the sailing would not be smooth for Congress this time.

Upreti said Pradeep Tamta had not fulfilled any of his major promises and will face some tough questions from voters this time.

"Tamta has a clean background; he remained an activist for years before joining the Congress.

But as a representative, he failed and now the BJP is selling the dreams he couldn't turn into a reality," Upreti said.  

Around 42% of voters in Almora constituency, which is spread over 14,000 sq km voted for Congress last time.

BJP finished second with 40.33% votes.

Going by the vote share of the contestants in Almore, the fight is mostly taking place between the Congress and the BJP and it is a close one.

A matter of 1% votes swinging the other way might change winners in this constituency.


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