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Lok Sabha polls 2024: Big two enter Uttarakhand ring for direct contest

In the past three Lok Sabha polls, the voters in the state have voted overwhelmingly in support of national parties handing over all five seats to either the BJP or the Congress.
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 22:31 IST
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 22:31 IST

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Dehradun: More than 75 lakh voters spread across the hilly terrain and far-flung villages will vote in the first phase of polling on April 19 in what is turning out to be a direct contest between the BJP and Congress for the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand.

In the past three Lok Sabha polls, the voters in the state have voted overwhelmingly in support of national parties handing over all five seats to either the BJP or the Congress. In 2009, Congress won all five seats. However, in the past two elections, the scales turned decisively in favour of the BJP.

For the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, BJP has changed its candidates in 2 seats— Garhwal and Haridwar. In Garhwal, the party’s media in-charge in Delhi Anil Baluni is contesting against former Congress state president Ganesh Godhyal. BJP has dropped its sitting MP and former CM Tirath Singh Rawat from this seat.

In the adjoining Haridwar, the party has denied a ticket to yet another former CM and Union minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank, who has been replaced by another former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat. This seat comprises assembly segments in the Tarai belt abutting Uttar Pradesh and has pockets of Muslim and Dalit presence.

Congress has fielded Virendra Rawat, son of former CM Harish Rawat from Haridwar. Rawat senior has won from Haridwar twice—in 2004 and 2009.

The third seat in the Ghawral division is Tehri, from where the BJP has again nominated Raj Laxmi Shah of the erstwhile Tehri royalty. She is pitted against Jon Singh Guntsola of the Congress.

In the two seats of the Kumain division, the BJP has renominated its sitting MPs — Ajay Bhatt from Nanital - Udhamsingh Nagar and Ajay Tamta.

While Bhatt is being challenged by Prakash Joshi, former AICC secretary and Rahul Gandhi aide, Pradeep Tamta is the Congress candidate from Almora.

The BJP government in Uttarakhand, led by Pushkar Singh Dhami, has made development undertaken by the ‘double-engine’ government its main poll plank. The sub-text remains the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code by the government in a state that has predominantly upper-caste demography.

Congress, on the other hand, is trying to focus on local issues like unemployment, migration from higher reaches, and ecological mishaps like Joshimath subsidence and the Sylkyara tunnel collapse.

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Published 16 April 2024, 22:31 IST

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