Uttarakhand: High Turnout in BJP held seats has party worried. Rushes state leaders to Delhi for a pow-wow with Amit Shah

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The HindustanTimes reported that BJP's top 4 CM contenders in Uttarakhand were asked to rush to Delhi by the high command to discuss the post-poll scenario.

The four BJP leaders were Satpal Maharaj, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, BC Khanduri and Trivendra Singh Rawat had a closed-door meeting with the party’s national president, Amit Shah in Delhi.

Maharaj, a spiritual leader, who contested the election from the Chobattakhal assembly constituency, is the BJP’s national executive member. Rawat, a BJP national secretary, is contesting from the Doiwala assembly constituency. Former chief ministers and incumbent parliamentarians Koshiyari and Khanduri have not contested the election this time.

The move comes amid reports that the mountain state is headed for a hung assembly with the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP in a close fight. The post-poll surveys and media reports contradict the claims of both parties to win 45-50 seats in the House of 70.

Except for 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the battle for Uttarakhand is traditionally very closely contested – within 1% margin. In 2012, the Congress shot into a single seat lead by just 0.3% vote share difference. 

Even though the BJP’s poll strategists publicly air confidence that the saffron party would come back to power in Uttarakhand, the high voting percentage registered in some of key Assembly constituencies is also a cause of concern to them. 

Polling on 69 Assembly seats in the hill state took place on Wednesday and the state registered a total voting percentage of 68 per cent, marginally higher than the last elections, 66.6 per cent. However, high voting percentage on seats including Sitarganj, Khatima and Haridwar (rural) has left the BJP extremely worried. These seats were won by the BJP last time and higher voting percentage is attributed to anti-incumbency.

From Sitarganj, the BJP had fielded Congress rebel and former chief minister, Vijay Bahuguna’s son Saurabh Bahuguna. This seat was won by the BJP in 2012 but its MLA, Kiron Mandal, vacated it for Mr Bahuguna. Mr Bahuguna had joined the BJP in May last year.  

CM Harish Rawat is contesting from the two other constituencies — Haridwar (Rural) and Khatima, earlier represented by the BJP. In all these three key constituencies, voting percentage crossed 60 per cent. In Dehradun, Mr Rawat has claimed the Congress will perform even better than expected. State unit chief Kishore Upadhyay also said the Congress will make a strong comeback by winning 46 seats. He said Mr Rawat played the role of “Arjuna” in the polls. Before the polls, they both were leading two separate camps. 

These claims apparently unnerved the BJP and caused them into panic mode.

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