Poll defeats put Bahuguna in a quandary, inner-party feud comes to the fore

Published: 02nd May 2013 08:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd May 2013 08:42 AM   |  A+A-

Massive victory of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the just-concluded local bodies election in Uttarakhand has struck a severe blow to not only the ruling Congress party in the state headed by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, but also to the party’s national vice-president Rahul Gandhi who had acted as the strategist for the elections.

If the mood of the people of the this tiny Himalayan state reflected in the local bodies elections,  is any indicator, the message is clearly written on the walls that they have rejected the ruling Congress party.It was so hostile towards the Congress  that out of six mayoral seats, the Congress failed to win even  a single  seat, while the  BJP annihilated its rival in majority of the seats. Out of six mayoral seats, BJP won four and Independents two (both BJP rebels). Out of 69 posts of  heads of nagar panchayat and nagar palikas, 22 each went to Independents and the BJP, 20 to Congress, three to the BSP, one each to the SP and the local outfit UKD (Uttarakhand Kranti Dal). At ward level too the Independents and BJP won two third of seats leaving the Congress the rest.

This is the second major loss of the Congress as a few months back, Congress candidate, none other than the  son of Vijay Bahuguna had lost Lok Sabha bye-election in Tehri Parliamentary constituency. Saket Bahuguna had lost to BJP  by a margin of 22,000 votes, when SP and BSP had not contested the poll in favour of the Congress.

“Successive defeat of the party in recent elections has raised the eye brows of the party high command and if the party has  to recover from continuous downslide, before the 2014 Parliamentary  elections, a change of guard in the state should be one of the main priority,” said former minister Kishore Upadhyaya while talking to Express from Dehradoon.

“This is the promo, final film will be shown in the 2014 Parliamentary elections, former chief minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank told Express.In 2009 elections, Congress had swept all five LS seats in its favour.

The Congress failed to dislodge the BJP  mayor from Dehradoon where the Bahuguna family had campaigned extensively.Similarly, the party lost Hardwar seat also represented in the LS by Minister of State Harish Rawat. The loss of the Congress in the two cities exposes the perpetual  feud between the warring camps of Bahuguna and Rawat.

Vijay Bahuguna has been constantly under attack by his own party. He faced stiff opposition from his party colleague Harish Rawat, who had worked hard to win the election in 2012 and successfully led the party to victory. But he was denied chief ministership by the party high command after BJP’s defeat despite the fact he had limited role in the 2012 Assembly elections. Since then the divide between the warrings camps led by Bahuguna and Rawat  grew wider resulting in party’s defeat.


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