Friday, 11 May 2018 | PNS | PAURI– Three candidates, two from the national parties BJP and Congress and another from the regional party Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD)  have filed their nomination papers for the Tharali Assembly by- election on  Thursday, the last day of the nomination filing process. Two other candidates had filed their nomination papers on Wednesday, leaving thus five candidates in the poll fray.  The scrutiny of nomination papers would be held on May 11 and the last date of the withdrawal of nomination is May 14. The polling for the constituency in Chamoli district is slated on May 28. The returning officer who is also the sub –divisional magistrate Paramnand Ram said that the nomination filing process for the Tharali Assembly by-poll  has ended on Thursday. On the last day of the nomination, Prof Jeet Ram filed nomination in three sets as the Congress candidate  while the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Munni Devi Shah filed her nomination papers in four sets. However, UKD candidate Kashbi Lal Shah filed his nomination only in one set, Ram said, adding that the CPI candidate Kunwar Ram and an Independent candidate Beeri Ram had filed their nominations on Wednesday. “It means that in all, five candidate are now left in the fray,” he added. Notably, the by-poll has been necessitated by the death of the BJP MLA Magan Lal Sharma to Swine Flu infection.  Late Magan Lal Shah had defeated Jeet Ram of the Congress by margin of 4,921 votes in the 2017 Assembly elections riding on the crest of the Modi wave that swept the state at the time. However, in the 2012 Assembly election, Jeet Ram had been elected from the constituency as he had defeated his nearest BJP candidate. Observers say that the by-poll would prove to be an acid test for the incumbent BJP government which romped to power with an unprecedented landslide in the 2017 Assembly election, seemingly riding piggyback on the strong Modi torrents. “It is the first by-poll in the state since the Assembly election. It is thus critical for the ruling party to retain the seat. It fielded the widow of the deceased MLA to cash on the sympathy factor. However, it is not enough for the ruling party to sail through the poll. If Congress wins the seat it might further exacerbate the intra-party bickering within the ruling party and the faction inimical to the leadership of the  Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat might bare its fangs,” says a state watcher.

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