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In Haldwani, Cong reposes faith in Indira, BJP bets on city mayor

The going, her supporters say, will be easy for Indira Hridayesh who had wrested the seat from the BJP in 2012 with a record margin of more than 23,000 votes.

dehradun Updated: Jan 25, 2017 18:27 IST
Hindustan Times
BJP has only once won the Haldwani seat, in 2007. (HT FILE)

The senior most minister in Harish Rawat cabinet, Indira Hridayesh, is seeking re-election from Haldwani, a seat from where she has won two of the three assembly polls held after the formation of Uttarkhand. The going, her supporters say, will be easy for Hridayesh who had wrested the seat from the BJP in 2012 with a record margin of more than 23,000 votes.

This time she is pitted against BJP’s Yogender Pal Singh Rautela, the sitting Haldwani mayor.

Haldwani has traditionally seen a fight between Congress and the BJP, with the saffron party snagging the seat once in 2007. Hridyaesh had first won from the seat in 2002 defeating nearest rival, BJP’s Bansidhar Bhagat by more than 3,000 votes. However, in the next polls, Bhagat trumped Hridayesh, winning the seat by 4,200 votes. In 2012, BJP changed its candidate and gave the ticket to Renu Adhikari while Congress reposed faith in Hridayesh who romped home with a formidable margin.

By nominating Rautela, BJP has once again changed its candidate. BJP leaders claim that Rautela will give a tough fight to the sitting Congress MLA as he is young and has good image in the public while Hridayesh, the parliamentary affairs and higher education minister in Rawat cabinet, is facing an anti-incumbency wave against her and the Rawat government. “Our candidate is young and has performed well as city mayor for nearly two years. He is clean and has no allegations of corruption against him. On the other hand, the Congress candidate has done the least for Haldwani despite being minister for 10 years. She cannot absolve herself of corruption charges against the ailing Rawat government,” said Sanjay Pandey, a local BJP leader.

On the other hand, Hridayesh and her supporters claim that she is on a strong footing and Rautela doesn’t enjoy an equal political stature. “She is the senior most member of the Rawat cabinet and has enjoys huge personal respect in the constituency. Haldwani has seen huge infrastructure development during her regime. Haldwani’s municipal area’s was upgraded as municipal corporation due to her efforts. Roads of Haldwani city and its surroundings are the best in the entire state,” said Mathura Dutt Joshi, PCC spokesperson.

Another reason behind Congress’s confidence is the fact former SP leader Abdul Mateen Siddique, who wields a huge influence in minority community, has joined the party. Siddique had polled more than 18,000 votes in 20017 assembly elections that became the primary reason behind Hridayesh’s defeat.

First Published: Jan 25, 2017 18:15 IST