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U'khand polls: Rebels pose threat to BJP, Cong candidates

January 23, 2012 16:00 IST
In Uttarakhand, which is traditionally used to a direct fight between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, the high number of rebels and independents have upset the calculation of the two big players.

Catch all the election buzz from Uttarakhand here

With nearly 800 candidates contesting the 70 seats, the presence of an extra candidate, even if it is a rebel does not bother many, but in some key contests it is the rebel who could tilt the balance.

At the Badrinath Assembly seat, when the BJP decided to allot its ticket to Prem Vallabh Bhatt, it was its sitting MLA Kedar Sigh Phonia who did not take it lying down and went ahead to file his nomination on a ticket of regional party Uttarakhand Raksha Morcha.

A similar step was taken by Anil Nautiyal, the BJP's sitting MLA from Karnprayag whom many even considered close to former chief minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal. Nautiyal, who had won the seat for the last two consecutive terms, is now expected to compound the worries of the party's official nominees Harish Poojary.

In Thrali constituency in Chamoli district, sitting MLA G L Shah has also joined the ranks of the BJP after he was denied a ticket in favour of Magan Lal Saha.

The Congress candidate Jeetram Lal can expect some benefit from Saha's presence but another independent Mahesh Trikoti would dent his votes as well. Ram Kumar, the BJP's sitting MLA from Sahaspur has filed his nomination from Urola constituency completing the quartet of sitting BJP MLAs who have rebelled.

Apart from them, former MLA Kailash Sharma has also filed the nomination from Almora against the party's official candidate and sitting MLA Raghunath Singh. "The rebels may do some damage but out party had conducted a survey before the elections that showed them doing badly which has resulted in tickets being denied to them," a BJP worker said.

The Congress' plate of worries is also quiet full. Former minister Mantri Parshad Naithani was expected to bag the party the Dev Prayag seat. But once the ticket was denied to Naithani, he rebelled and is mounting problems for the official Congress candidate and former minister Shoorvir Singh Seiwan.

Former Congress MLA Harish Durgapal has filed his papers from the Lal Kuan constituency against the party's official nominee.

Senior Congress leader Harak Singh Rawat who is locked in a tough fight with BJP's Matbar Singh Kandari has to fight off the challenge of not one but two party rebels. Bharat Chaudhary and Virender Singh Bisht, both said to be associated with the Congress are now opposing the party's official candidate.

The presence of S P Singh, who was associated with the Congress, in the fray from Doiwala in Dehradun district has diluted to some extent the challenge of senior leader and ex-minister Hira Singh Bisht who is fighting the CM Ramesh Pokhriyal.

Congress candidates also have to encounter the challenge of rebels in other seats like Rishikesh, Haridwar (rural), Ranipur and Sahaspur. They deter its members from hobnobbing with the rebels; the party has already cancelled the membership of nearly fifty of its workers in the state.

Many locals believe that the rebels know that if none of the two parties has an absolute majority, and they manage to win a seat, they may be in for a bargain.

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