Stakes high Baba, Koshiyari in Nainital

Election Tour/Uttarakhand-9

DEHRADOON: The picturesque Nainital had turned its face against Congress only thrice since 1951 and that too for a period of nine years. This election season the question is whether senior BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari adds one more tenure for the non-Congress camp from Nainital-Uddhamsingh Nagar.

Koshiyari, who was a journalist and teacher before he entered full-time politics and become Uttarakhand Chief Minister, is no pushover as he knows the state politics like the back of his hand. He is taking on two-time sitting Congress MP K C Singh Baba, a descendent of Chand royals who ruled the Kumaon region.

Image

(K C Singh Baba)

A sports enthusiast, Baba defeated his BJP rival Bachi Singh Rawat, a four-time Almora MP, in 2009 polls by 88,412 votes but this time the going appears to be tough for him due to the presence of Koshiyari in the fray as well as allegations of his inaccessibility.

More trouble for Baba also comes from sulking N D Tewari, the veteran Congress leader and former Chief Minister, who was denied a party ticket to fight from his stronghold. Tewari had sought the ticket for himself or Rohit, whom he recently acknowledged as his son, but Congress High Command stuck to the sitting MP.

Fishing in troubled waters, 72-year-old Koshiyari sought 89-year-old Tewari’s blessings. Miffed with Congress, Tewari gave his blessings saying Koshiyari is a capable leader who can complete his work. “I am sure he will accomplish my unfinished mission of bringing about development in the hills,” Tewari had then said.

However, Congress does not see much in Tewari’s actions as they feel that he will not have much hold in the constituency, which he had earlier.

Image

(Bhagat Singh Koshiyari)

A victory is a must for Koshiyari, who was jailed for around two years during Emergency, this time as his bete-noires in party B C Khanduri and Ramesh Nishank Pokhriyal are also in the Parliamentary fight and a loss would mean yielding space to them.

The BJP leader, whose term in Rajya Sabha ends in November this year, started his campaign earlier last month with a road show on a bullock cart to highlight the pathetic condition of roads in the state.

Baba’s aides expect that their leader would be able to increase his margin this time. In 2004, he had won the elections with a margin of 44,000 votes while he doubled it (88,412 votes) in 2009.

Thirteen other candidates, including from BSP and AAP, are also in the fray. In 2009 polls, BSP candidate Narayan Pal has polled 1.43 lakh votes and this time they have fielded a Muslim candidate Laik Ahmed.

2009 Polls

K C Singh Baba (Cong) – 3,21,377
Bachi Singh Rawat (BJP) – 2,32,965
Narayan Pal (BSP) – 1,43,515

WARRIORS FOR 2014

K C Singh Baba (Congress)
Bhagat Singh Koshiyari (BJP)
Laik Ahmed (BSP)
Balli Singh Cheema (AAP)

(PS: The article appeared in Deccan Herald on May 3, 2014)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: