Lok Sabha Elections Results 2019: Former CM Harish Rawat loses in Naintal by over 3 lakh votes
Former chief minister and Congress poster boy, Harish Rawat, who contested from Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar Lok Sabha constituency, was defeated by a margin of 3,39,096 votes.
As per the results, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Ajay Bhatt received 7,72,195 votes, including 7,022 postal ballots while Rawat received 4,33,099 votes including 1,998 postal ballots
Despite Rawat’s defeat in 2017 assembly polls from two seats Haridwar Rural and Kiccha, the central leadership gave him ticket to contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar seat. Though Rawat was vying for two seats - Nainital and Haridwar, he finally decided to contest from the former seat.
Senior Congress leader, Kishore Upadhyay said, “It’s an irony that Congress failed to learn from its mistakes. It failed to do comprehensive analysis in 2014 Lok Sabha polls when the government here was ours, yet all five seats were won by BJP. As far as Rawat ji is concerned, he should now decide his course of action accordingly.”
Harish Rawat led state government received a major jolt in 2016 when nine of its sitting MLAs rebelled, who were later expelled from the party by the then speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal. The rebels, led by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna supported BJP legislators demanding conscience vote at the assembly’s budget session on March 18. Following this, Article 356 President’s Rule was enforced in the state for the first time.
Later, a sting was also released showing Rawat making a deal with a journalist to settle the rebellion of its nine MLAs. Rawat, thereafter, admitted to have been in the video.
Rawat has contested LS polls nine times so far and had been MP four times. Thrice he was elected from Almora constituency in 1980, 1984 and 1989 while once from Haridwar in 2009. He lost the remaining four times. He was the union minister of water resources in UPA-2 from 2012-14 and won legislative seat from Dharchula in 2014. He was sworn in as the chief minister on February 1, 2014.
“Rawat is the only statewide accepted face of Congress here and his defeat is a major setback to the Congress. It would be difficult for the party to revive after this episode,” said MM Semwal, political analyst and professor of political science in Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University.
Rawat’s indifference with other political leaders of his party like Indira Hridayesh, leader of opposition and state Congress president Kishore Upadhyay seems to have added to his defeat this time, a senior Congress leader said requesting anonymity. His defeat has come as a major blow to the Congress which is left with no other prominent face, the leader said.
“Congress has been defeated and so as the former chief minister. It’s time for him to rest,” Naresh Bansal, BJP general secretary said.
“I accept the judgement of people,” Harish Rawat said, claiming that faulty EVMs are behind this trend. He said that he will analyse the voting pattern later.