FeaturedInternationalinternational, political, nationalNationalPoliticsUttarakhand

Reluctant leaders, demoralized Congress party cadres unable to take on BJP-RSS poll machinery in Uttarakhand

Listen to this article

Reluctant leaders, demoralized Congress party cadres unable to take on BJP-RSS poll machinery in Uttarakhand


Dehradun, March 13

The announcement of three candidates for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections from Pauri Garhwal, Tehri Garhwal and Almora (reserve) by the Congress party in Uttarakhand shows that the party has merely fulfilled a formality rather than showing a strong resolve to take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP has also announced to repeat it’s three sitting MPs from Tehri, Almora and Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar seats, namely Mala Raj Luxmi Shah(Tehri), Ajay Tamta (Almora) and Ajay Bhatt ( Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar).

It is perhaps the only state in the country where the faction ridden Congress party, which is totally demoralised and in wreck after successive massive electoral defeats in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections and 2017 and 2022 state assembly elections, found it difficult to find suitable potential candidates who could put up a respectable fight against the strong poll machinery of BJP-RSS.

While there is exodus of party leaders to BJP in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections including that of Manish Khanduri, son of former BJP Chief Minister B.C.Khanduri, who was a contender for the party ticket from Pauri Garhwal, most of the other senior state party leaders were shying away from contesting elections. Interestingly, most of the potential Congress party leaders publicly and privately announcing their reluctance to contest elections which is the ultimate test of a political party and political leader in a democracy.

The tallest of them all, former Chief Minister Harish Rawat has been speaking in a dozen different languages on the question of fighting elections from Haridwar from where he won in 2009. It is believed that his name is amongst the party probable’s from the seat. During the past month, he has given statements ranging from asking party nominations for both his son Virender Rawat and Anand Rawat and even showing his unwilling to contest. Another party big wig who is a legislator from Chakrata assembly segment and considered most suitable from Tehri to take on sitting MP Mala Raj Luxmi Shah, lobbied hard that none uttered his name in any party forum suggesting his candidature.

The party unable to find any appropriate candidate finally decided to give party ticket to one of its former legislator Jot Singh Gunsola from Mussoorie. Jot Singh Gunsola is old and inactive and according to party sources could not even win the Municipal elections.

Another senior party leader Govind Singh Kunjwal publicly said that he has no money to contest Lok Sabha elections. Leader of Opposition and Bazpur legislator Yashpal Arya who could have given a tough fight to sitting MP Ajay Tamta from Almora was also reportedly reluctant to contest from Almora. The party has to bank on it’s old war horse Pardeep Tamta who twice lost to his BJP rival in 2014 and 2019.

There were reports that Ganesh Godiyal, a former Uttarakhand party chief was also not keen to contest citing lack of resources. However, party has given him party ticket to contest from Pauri Garhwal. BJP has yet to announce its’ candidates from Pauri and Haridwar[i] seats. Most interestingly, Pritam, Ganesh Godiyal and even Manish Khanduri are considered close to party leader Rahul Gandhi. Manish Khanduri on joining BJP said that Rahul Gandhi is a good person.

The aggressive anti-Muslim rhetoric of the BJP state government led by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami of ‘Love Jehad’, ‘Land Jehad’, ‘Mazar jehad’, Uniform Civil Code and finally Haldwani riots have completely demoralised Uttarakhand Congress which finds itself in a bind to take on the ideology of BJP-RSS combine of Hindutva, anti-Muslim campaign and nationalism. In a state having majority Hindu upper caste population with almost every house old having young persons in armed forces, It has become near impossible for Uttarakhand Congress to take on BJP-RSS might.

The party organisational structure is in shambles with no focus on fighting Lok Sabha elections. Most of the leaders point to resource crunch as fighting Lok Sabha election requires a minimum expenditure of Rs. 7 crore on a single Lok Sabha seats. Senior party leaders who are capable of generating that much money are not willing to take the risk. About the number of party ticket aspirants, a senior party leader pointed out that most of them are non-serious who are out to raise their own profiles by showing that they fought Lok Sabha polls and are banking on the bare party funding.

There is no coordination with the other smaller parties like left parties namely CPM, CPI (CPI (ML) as part of India Alliance. Left parties have their string pockets in the state with most dedicated workers who could have proven as asset for the opposition in the polls but there is no effort on the part of the Congress party. Indresh Maikhuri, secretary of the state unit of CPI(ML) today met Karan Mahra, Uttarakhand Congress chief asking him to give the Pauri Garhwal seat to left parties as part of ‘India Alliance’. But the Congress has already announced its’ candidate from Pauri without taking India Alliance partners into confidence.

Uttarakhand Congress has a vote share of more than 30 per cent. With nearly 14 per cent Muslim population and nearly 20 per cent dalit votes, the Congress could atleast given a decent fight to BJP in Haridwar and Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar but the attitude of the senior party leadership clearly point that much before the announcement of Lok Sabha elections, Congress leaders have conceded defeat.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
error: Content is protected !!