After delimitation in Pauri district, Chaubattakhal, the newly carved constituency that has a major portion of erstwhile Bironkhal seat, has become an open battlefield for all candidates as Amrita Rawat of Congress, who represented Bironkhal twice since 2002, has preferred Ramnagar for her hat-trick venture.
Except for Rajesh Kandari of BSP (who is a local), all other main contenders are new to the area. Chaubattakhal has become a political rehabilitation centre for Tirath Singh Rawat of the BJP and Yashpal Benam, independent, after the Pauri seat became reserved. The Congress is trying to make it the launching pad of the young Rajpal Singh Bisht of Rahul brigade.
Rajpal, who claims to have covered most of the area in his constituency, not only banks on the Congress network but also on the name of Rahul Gandhi to win the election. He is confident that the people of the area will understand that his victory would invoke the interest of Rahul Gandhi in the development of the area.
Tirath Singh, a protégé of chief minister BC Khanduri, feels people would vote him to victory because they understand that it is only the BJP that can bring in development and quality education in the area.
Yashpal Benam, the independent candidate is banking on the hard work he has put in during the last one year in the area. He said that the people were disenchanted with both the national political parties and were looking for a third option to bring in development. Rajesh Kandari of BSP, however, considers himself one up for being the local guy who understands the problems of the area better than the rest.
Chaubattakhal constituency has 86,531 voters and includes some parts of Pauri, Lansdowne, Thalisen and a major portion of Bironkhal with 43,491 voters. Only time will tell who tilts the balance in his favour and emerges victorious.