Absence of big guns of state politics took the sheen off the campaign
Khanduri remained absent from campaign while Harish Rawat, Ajay Bhatt, Ramesh Pokhariyal ‘ Nishank’ and Pritam Singh remained confined to their constituencies
As compared with past, the election campaign for the parliamentary elections 2019, the voting for which was held on Thursday in all the five parliamentary seats of Uttarakhand was lacklustre because of absence of redoubtable Major General (retd) B C Khanduri from the campaign and failure of veterans like All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Harish Rawat, BJP state president Ajay Bhatt, former chief minister Ramesh Pokhariyal ‘ Nishank’ and Pradesh Congress Committee ( PCC) president Pritam Singh to come out of the constituencies from where they were contesting. In absence of these local stalwarts, national leaders of both BJP and Congress tried to woo the people of the state by campaigning in the state. On this count the BJP took lead as leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and union ministers Rajnath Singh, Piyush Goyal and Thaawar Chand Gehlot held public meetings in the state. From Congress, its president Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan Deputy CM Sachin Pilot campaigned in the state. Among the leaders of state, only chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, who addressed more than 50 rallies and former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshyari campaigned extensively in these elections. Maj Gen (retd) Khanduri who was denied ticket from Garhwal parliamentary seat due his advanced age was conspicuous by his absence from these elections. However, Khanduri dominated the election related discussions as his son Manish Khanduri was given ticket by Congress party from Garhwal. It was speculated in some quarters that the Khanduri senior would resign from BJP and come out openly in support of his son. Some others believed that the Khanduri senior would never betray the party which made him CM of the state on two occasions and would campaign for the BJP candidate and disciple Teerath Singh Rawat.
Khanduri however kept people guessing and decided to remain out of the campaign.
Apart from Khanduri senior the BJP missed the services of former CM, Ramesh ‘Nishank’ who was seeking re-entry in Parliament from Haridwar. Similarly, the Congress candidates missed the presence of stalwart Harish Rawat as he was engaged in a do or die battle in Nainital- Udham Singh Nagar constituency. Rawat who got the ticket after overcoming intense opposition from Leader of Opposition (LoP) in state assembly, Indira Hridayesh had to remain firmly entrenched in Nainital for the fierce battle. His opponent, the state president of BJP, Ajay Bhatt too failed to come out of Nainital to campaign for other candidates of the party. The presence of Harish Rawat made things so engrossed for Bhatt that he had to hand over the charge of the president of the state unit of BJP to Naresh Bansal who was appointed as officiating president by the party. Apart from absence of Harish Rawat, the Congress campaign in the state was also marred by the absence of the PCC chief Pritam Singh. Incidentally Singh started Parivartan Yatra in January in which he travelled extensively in the state but after declaration of the election schedule and declaration of his candidature from Tehri lok Sabha, Pritam Singh failed to come out from Tehri to campaign in other parts of the state.
Saturday, 13 April 2019 | PNS | Dehradun
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