Uttarakhand appears headed for photo finish

Uttarakhand appears headed for photo finish

Uttarakhand appears headed for a photo finish with leaders from neither side claiming an emphatic victory after a 68% turnout in the polling on Wednesday.

The buzz in political circles is that the BJP was able to reach out to the cadre upset with the induction of 13 Congress rebels who were fielded in this Assembly election.

According to the Election Commission, 68% of the votes were cast till 5 pm in 69 of the 70 Assembly constituencies. Polling for the Karnaprayag seat in Chamoli was deferred to March 9 following the death of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate.

There appeared to be an underlying Modi current, which some analysts believe was consolidated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s four rallies in the hill state close to the polling day. However, the BJP circles are not happy with the turnout which, despite being two percentage points higher than the 2012 elections, was below their expectations.

The Congress circles also predicted a close finish with neither of the main rivals getting an outright majority in the Assembly.

A large number of rebels from both the BJP and the Congress ranks have queered the pitch for the official candidates, and these ‘independents’ could turn kingmakers if the main political parties fail to get a majority.

In 2012, the Congress won 32 seats, while the BJP was close behind with 31 seats. The Congress had formed the government with the support of the BSP, Uttarakhand Kranti Dal and independents.

The BSP was looking to play kingmaker once again and had fielded candidates in almost all the 70 seats, hoping to make its presence felt in the plains.

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