Candid Notes

Friday, 26 APRIL 2024 | Gajendra Singh Negi | DEHRADUN

Motivated by the mantra of ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’, BJP engineered a large-scale defection in Congress party in Uttarakhand ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The campaign resulted in 15,000 new recruits in the saffron party which included former cabinet ministers, an incumbent MLA and many other senior leaders. However, the idea of strengthening the party from these turncoats seems to have backfired as the dedicated workers and leaders of the saffron party have openly started voicing their dissent against these new entrants. In Tehri, the former minister Dinesh Dhanai and MLA Kishore Upadhyaya have entered into a bitter turf war and the BJP old- timers in the district have started opposing both these leaders who are new entrants in the party. A similar situation is visible in Badrinath where Rajendra Bhandari resigned from Congress and membership of assembly to don saffron colour. Dissent is also simmering in the rank and file of BJP in Lansdowne, Pauri, Yamkeshwar, Chaubattakhal, Ranikhet and other areas. It will be interesting to watch how BJP leadership manages to bring this dissent into check that has ruined its image as a party with difference.

Plagued by a plethora of defections, Congress party appeared down and out in Uttarakhand at the start of Lok Sabha election campaign. A sense of despondency appeared looming over the grand old party which prompted stalwarts such as Harish Rawat, Pritam Singh and Yashpal Arya to steer clear of the electoral battle. These leaders successfully resisted the pressure of the party brass to enter into the electoral fray as they found the environment not conducive for them. However, things started changing as the campaign pitch started sharpening in the State and reports of a gallant fight being put up by Ganesh Godiyal in the saffron citadel of Garhwal galvanised the rank and file of the grand old party. Raking up local issues such as Agnipath scheme, Ankita Bhandari murder case and rising unemployment, Godiyal took the fight right into BJP’s camp. The Garhwal effect boosted the morale of the Congress candidates in other constituencies of the State to such an extent that by the end of polling, the party was now fancying its chances in two to three constituencies of the State. The senior leaders are now reportedly rueing their decision to opt out of the electoral battle of LS 2024.

With ED on a hot pursuit of the money trail in the illegal felling of trees in Pakhro range of Corbett Tiger Reserve, harried Harak Singh Rawat prudently decided not to campaign for the candidates of his present party Congress in the Lok Sabha elections. Apart from this gesture of reconciliation with the party in power, Harak’s daughter-in -law, Anukriti Gusain who had contested the 2022 Vidhan Sabha election from Lansdowne on Congress ticket resigned from the party and after the polling ended, joined the saffron bandwagon. Harak is now terming Gusain’s decision to join BJP as her own and opined that there can be difference of opinion in a family. Those versed with the style of functioning of the maverick leader who had lived up to his reputation as an adept party hopper, point out that Harak probably is waiting for the outcome of the LS elections 2024 to take his next big step.

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